“Danny [Kingsley] opened the webinar by contending that irrespective of teaching or research quality within academia, the only thing that seems to count in research is the publication of novel results in high-impact journals. This, she explained, has contributed to cultural problems in academia of ‘star researchers’ and imbalances of power within the academy, but when it comes to science in particular, further challenges arise in the publication of these of research outputs in the way of reproducibility, integrity, replicability, and irreproducibility. Open science, she argued, offers researchers the chance to be rewarded for their research outputs at any stage of the research cycle, including the data on which publications are based. In order for open science to be embraced, institutions must play along; Danny’s own university, the University of Cambridge, has launched a pilot in which researchers and librarians work together ‘completely openly’ on open science initiatives, and after consulting the research community found that the benefits of open research are not always obvious, and rarely rewarded. Moving to a culture of open research, contended Danny, requires a robust infrastructure in place within the institution to support moves towards openness.
Chris [Jackson], a geologist working at Imperial College London and a passionate advocate of open science, began by pointing out the reasons why scientists might want to make their research open access: to improve their ‘H-indexes’ (one of the metrics scientists are measured by); to signal to their community that they’re engaged with their research enough to promote it; and to be innovative into the future. But the fear for many scientific researchers, he explained, is that not enough of one’s peers are engaged in open access; that one will experience a ‘time sink’ in learning all the relevant infrastructure and language necessary to actually publish research open access; that publishing open access will be too expensive not just in the Global South, but in some parts of the Global North too; and that being measured for one’s ‘openness’ isn’t yet appropriate for a CV entry. Not all funders of the academy, he continued, have a moral obligation when it comes to funding research; large corporations, he argued, are unlikely to pay extra open access costs. Practical solutions to make research more open, Chris argued, may lie in opportunities to publish preprints – including his own collaborative efforts on EarthArXiv – to demonstrate how research is conducted, and the life it has prior to final publication.
Finally, Eva [Méndez] spoke from a range of her different ‘hats’ as a librarian, researcher, and policy-maker to illustrate her analogy of open science behaving as a ‘mushroom’ rather than an ‘umbrella’: research integrity, research infrastructures, the academic reward system, and altmetrics comprise the roots of open science, all which lay the foundation for the movements of open access, open data, open peer review, and so on. The Open Science Policy Platform, which Eva works on, is working to systematically change science by asking researchers, librarians, and anyone else working within the research process, to ask themselves what they can do for open science. Eva also called for ‘cool metadata’, in which metadata does not exists simply for information retrieval, but is open and accessible in order that it can work to establish relationships between users and outcomes of research.