Beyond vaccines, UNESCO wants more global science shared

“While the U.S. president is calling for suspending patents on COVID-19 vaccines, experts at UNESCO are quietly working on a more ambitious plan: a new global system for sharing scientific knowledge that would outlast the current pandemic.

At a meeting that concluded Tuesday, diplomats and legal and technical experts from UNESCO’S member states tried to draw up global guidelines under a project called Open Science….

The Open Science talks aim to come up with a “soft law” by the end of this year that governments could use as a guide for setting science policies and systematically sharing data, software and research across borders, Persic said….

In 2019, then-President Donald Trump pulled out of UNESCO, but U.S. diplomats are taking part in the Open Science talks as observers….”

Consultation with Indigenous Peoples on the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

“As a part of a series of thematic consultations for building a global consensus on Open Science, UNESCO organized an online meeting on January 15 to take stock of Indigenous peoples‘ perspective on Open Science.  

In view of developing a standard-setting instrument on Open Science, UNESCO is leading an inclusive, transparent and consultative process. In this process, inclusiveness of diverse knowledge systems and knowledge holders is essential, and the first draft of the Recommendation is based on the broad inputs provided by stakeholders from all regions and groups.

Considering the great importance given to the creation of a productive relationship between Open Science and Indigenous Knowledge Systems, the consultation with Indigenous Peoples brought together 120 participants from 50 countries, including indigenous scholars and academics, members of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), members of different initiatives such as the Forest Peoples Programme, the Global Indigenous Data Alliance, the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, and the drafting committee of the CARE principles for Indigenous Data Governance.    …”

Draft text of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science – UNESCO Digital Library

“In accordance with the UNESCO Constitution and the Rules of Procedure concerning recommendations to Member States and international conventions covered by the terms of Article IV, paragraph 4, of the Constitution, the final report together with the draft text of the Recommendation on Open Science was sent to UNESCO Member States in March 2021 (CL/4349). It is submitted to the special committee meeting of technical and legal experts, designated by Member States, to be held on 6-7 and 10-12 May, as per the circular letter (CL/4338) sent in January 2021, followed by the letter ref. SC/PCB/SPP/2376 sent in April 2021.”

Intergovernmental special committee meeting (Category II) related to the draft UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

“At its 40th session in November 2019, UNESCO’s General Conference decided to elaborate a draft Recommendation on Open Science.

The first draft of the Recommendation on Open Science was sent to UNESCO Member States in September 2020 (CL/4333), requesting their comments and observations by 31 December 2020. The Open Science Advisory Committee and the UNESCO Secretariat have taken these comments into account in the draft text of the Recommendation and the related final report, sent to UNESCO Member States in March 2021 (CL/4349).

The draft text of the Recommendation will be examined by technical and legal experts, designated by Member States, at the intergovernmental special committee meeting related to the draft UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which will take place online on 6-7 May and 10-12 May 2021 (letter ref. SC/PCB/SPP/2376 sent on 12 April 2021, following CL/4338 sent in January 2021). 

The draft approved at the intergovernmental meeting will be submitted to Member States in August 2021, with a view to its adoption by the General Conference at its 41st session in November 2021….”

Towards a Global Consensus on Open Science – Online Expert Meeting on Open Science and Intellectual Property Rights

“UNESCO is leading the development of an international standard-setting instrument on Open Science in the form of a UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

Recognizing the ongoing policy challenge to balance openness and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) protection, UNESCO is organizing an expert meeting to discuss the relationships between IPRs and Open Science; to present the different existing instruments and mechanisms that reconcile ownership and sharing/openness, and to exchange on balanced IPRs and Open Science policies and strategies.

The meeting will be held in English and French on the Zoom online platform on Friday, 23 April from 12:00 to 14:00 CET (Paris time)….”

Results: The ISC Survey on the first draft of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science – International Science Council

“The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science is envisaged as important step in promoting a global understanding of the meaning, opportunities, and challenges of Open Science. The ISC, along with the IAP, our UN Major Group for the Scientific and Technological Community partners WFEO, and ALLEA, assisted UNESCO in gathering comments on the first draft of the Recommendation from the scientific community through an online survey at the end of 2020.

The perspectives of the international scientific community and their assessment of the draft text gathered through the survey will assist UNESCO and its Member States in the development of the final text of the Recommendation on Open Science, expected to be adopted by Member States in November 2021.

The responses were generally positive towards the UNESCO Recommendations and highlighted some key concerns and gaps….”

Results: The ISC Survey on the first draft of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science – International Science Council

“The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science is envisaged as important step in promoting a global understanding of the meaning, opportunities, and challenges of Open Science. The ISC, along with the IAP, our UN Major Group for the Scientific and Technological Community partners WFEO, and ALLEA, assisted UNESCO in gathering comments on the first draft of the Recommendation from the scientific community through an online survey at the end of 2020.

The perspectives of the international scientific community and their assessment of the draft text gathered through the survey will assist UNESCO and its Member States in the development of the final text of the Recommendation on Open Science, expected to be adopted by Member States in November 2021.

The responses were generally positive towards the UNESCO Recommendations and highlighted some key concerns and gaps….”

2020 in review: A year in Open Science policy  – Science & research news | Frontiers

“How to begin to summarize what 2020?has?meant for policy and science? It feels like a decade’s worth of catastrophic news and disruption, followed by unprecedented innovative responses.  It was also the year that proved?beyond?doubt?that access to scientific knowledge must be free and immediately open to effectively address the challenges faced by society….

However,?progress was made in Open Science in 2020: ? 

In the US,?meetings with stakeholders?and?a public round of evidence gathering?occured?to prepare for an?executive order mandating OA?for?federally funded research.?No tangible result has emerged, yet?it catalyzed grassroots support for: #OAintheUSA. Expectations are that the incoming Biden administration will pick up the initiative.? 

UNESCO conducted a?global consultation of the academic community?over the summer?to prepare a?Recommendation on?Open Science, for adoption in 2021.?Similarly,?in October,?the World Health?Organization?(WHO), UNESCO,?and the?UN High Commissioner for Human Rights?statement?issued a?joint call for Open Science,?to which we offered our support.?? 

In November, the UN launched a new partnership of publishers committed to the Sustainable Development Goals,?the SDG Publishers Compact. Frontiers and other signatories committed?to promoting research and education and to work inside and outside the company to support the SDGs.  

Frontiers joined?the Initiative for?Open Abstracts (I4OA),?which advocates for the?unrestricted availability of abstracts in scholarly communications.?By joining I4OA, our abstracts will be deposited on?Crossref, adding a layer of support to the OA community’s mission to make all science open.? …”

Evaluation of the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning Open Educational Resources

Abstract:  Open Educational Resources (OER) “are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others” (UNESCO). In November 2019, UNESCO adopted a resolution on OER that had five objectives:

1. Building capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER;

2. Developing supportive policy;

3. Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER;

4. Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER; and

5. Facilitating international cooperation.

Overall this policy represents well the state of the art in OER and would serve to further the aims and objectives of open online education. Having said that, the document suffers from numerous cases of ambiguous terminology, some of it in places where serious misunderstandings could arise. The purpose of this article is to review this resolution, highlighting areas of ambiguity or where further discussion is needed in the OER community.