Open science round-up: April 2024

Welcome to the latest edition of our Open Science Round-up, curated by Moumita Koley. Join us as she brings you the key reads and news in the world of Open Science.

Open science round-up: April 2024

In this issue, we feature an editorial by Ludo Waltman, scientific director and professor at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University. Following the release of the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information in April, he invites all science and research organizations committed to make openness the default, to support and ratify the document.

Join the transition toward openness of research information 

 “To be promoted to full professor, I need to have at least X publications with a citation impact of at least Y. I am studying rare diseases. For publications in my field, it is almost impossible to have a citation impact of Y or higher. So, I will never be promoted, and the rare diseases I study will never get the attention they deserve. What should I do?” 

A few weeks ago, a researcher at a prestigious US university sent me an email sharing the above problem. This problem illustrates the situation in which many academics find themselves. Decisions about the careers of researchers and the resources allocated to different research topics are made based largely on bibliometric statistics, and these statistics are usually calculated based on non-transparent data from proprietary publication and citation databases.  

These statistics largely function as black boxes, with the methodologies for calculating indicators undisclosed to both the researchers being evaluated and the evaluators. Decisions made based on these statistics lack transparency and are likely to suffer from biases in the underlying data. 

The Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information, launched on April 16, 2024, argues that openness should be the norm for information about the conduct and communication of research, including information used in research assessments. Signatories of the Declaration commit to making openness the default for the research information they use and produce. The Declaration has already been signed by 60 research organizations from 19 countries worldwide. Signatories include universities and other research organizations, research funders, governments, and libraries. The Declaration is also supported by over 20 infrastructure organizations. 

The Barcelona Declaration builds on several related initiatives. For instance, the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science highlights the need for “open bibliometrics and scientometrics systems for assessing and analyzing scientific domains”. The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment emphasizes the importance of ensuring “independence and transparency of the data, infrastructure and criteria necessary for research assessment”. The International Science Council report The Case for Reform of Scientific Publishing argues that “a full international index of scientific publications should be created” and that this index should be “controlled by agents of the scientific community”. 

At my organization, the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University, we have made the commitment that within the next few years all our work will be based on open research information. I invite all research organizations to join the journey toward full openness of research information and to sign the Barcelona Declaration. 

About the author:

Ludo Waltman is scientific director and professor of Quantitative Science Studies at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University. He is also open science ambassador at Leiden University and co-chair of the Research on Research Institute (RoRI). Ludo is one of the initiators of the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information.

Big stories in Open Science

Barcelona Declaration Promotes Openness to Research Information 

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F1000 and Gates Foundation Launch VeriXiv, a Verified Preprint Platform for Open Science 

Major Chemistry Journal Disappears Online, Highlighting Digital Preservation Challenges 

Study Reveals Over Two Million Scholarly Articles Lack Proper Archiving 

Global Enthusiasm for Open Scholarship Highlighted by Seed Award Applications 

Harvard Library Launches Open Access Journals Initiative 

Open Library of Humanities Promotes More Open Access Initiatives 

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The information, opinions and recommendations presented by our guests are those of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the values and beliefs of the International Science Council.

Image by Scott Webb on Unsplash.


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