What is open science?

Open science is about making research more accessible and transparent to other researchers and wider society. This can be done in different ways: by making research data and research findings freely available and by inviting the public and other stakeholders to participate in all or parts of the research process. As science becomes more open, it is important that researchers participate in contexts outside of academia: taking part in public debate, collaborating and engaging in dialogue with various societal actors.

Open science is an umbrella term that includes open access (making scientific findings accessible to all), open data (making the material upon which scientific findings are based available to all), altmetrics (new ways of measuring the impact of research – i.e. not only which scientific journals the findings are published in) and citizen science (directly involving the public in research projects).

Illustration: Lotta W Tomasson/VA CC BY-NC 2.0

Why open science?

Interest in more openness between the academic world and wider society has grown considerably in recent years. In May 2016, the governments of the countries in the EU decided that the Union should transition to a new system for open science.

The research bill passed by the Swedish Parliament in April 2017 states that ”all scientific publications that are the result of publicly funded research should be made immediately accessible upon publication.” Similarly, the research data upon which these scientific publications are based are to be made openly available.

Some of the benefits of open science that are often highlighted are that it improves the quality of the research, it enables political decisions to be based on better data and it brings research closer to society.

How does VA work with Open Science?

VA is involved in various projects that promote open science:

  • ARCS – citizen science for all
    – developing a Swedish web portal for citizen science.
  • EU-Citizen.Science
    – developing a European platform for citizen science.
  • Researchers’ Night mass experiment
    –Since 2009 VA has run an annual citizen science project, as part of the ForskarFredag science festival, in which the public and school classes across Sweden are invited to participate in real research.
  • ORION Open Science
    – aims to make research in the life sciences and biomedicine more open and incorporate more societal perspectives into the research process.
  • RRI Tools
    – this project, which has now come to an end, developed a toolkit to support Responsible Research and Innovation.
  • SciShops
    – this project, which has now come to an end developed an ecosystem for Science Shops in Europe.
  • Open science workshops
    – workshops on open science for universities in Sweden. (Most info in Swedish)

Related terms

Open research, Open data, Open access, Open scholarship, Open source, Open peer review, Open reproducibility research, Open education, Citizen Science and Open participation.

Open science is ”Öppen vetenskap” in Swedish.

Further information

Relevant social media hashtags: #openscience, #openresearch and #openaccess