In this issue, we feature an insightful editorial by Sal Music on the OPUS project and its significant impact in encouraging Open Science practices.
Transforming Research Assessment: The OPUS Project’s Impact on Open Science
In our fast-paced world, Open Science is essential for expediting discoveries, ensuring universal access to information, and enhancing the impact of research. Open Science improves the quality of research and facilitates global collaboration by fostering openness, inclusivity, and the free exchange of data and ideas. Unfortunately, the current academic practices often prioritize individual achievements, which can hinder the Open Science ethos. It’s essential to shift this perspective by recognizing and rewarding contributions to open research, thereby nurturing a culture that values and incentivizes Open Science practices across all academic levels.
To address this concern, the Open and Universal Science (OPUS) project was initiated to create a framework that recognizes and rewards Open Science practices. OPUS’s mission is to change how research and researchers are evaluated (research(ers) assessment reform) at Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) and Research Funding Organisations (RFOs). The project aims to create a system that encourages and rewards researchers for engaging with Open Science practices, such as making their research outputs accessible to all, sharing their research early in the process, participating in open peer review, ensuring reproducibility of results, and engaging all stakeholders in collaborative research efforts. OPUS is working towards a comprehensive approach to embracing Open Science.
The project, led by The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) and executed by a consortium of eighteen organizations, is making waves in the world of Open Science. OPUS is more than just a project; it’s a catalyst for change in how research is perceived, evaluated, and rewarded within the Open Science landscape.
As Head of the Dissemination and Communication Department at the International Consortium of Research Staff Association (ICoRSA) in Cork, Ireland—one of the 18 partners in the OPUS project—I have the privilege of witnessing the project’s transformative impact on Open Science practices. OPUS introduces interventions and indicators for Open Science through the Researcher Assessment Framework (RAF), testing them within pilot research organizations. We are currently crafting a Final Policy Brief to advocate for Open Science and updating the Open Science Career Assessment Matrix (OS-CAM2), promoting its adoption among European Research Area policymakers.
These efforts highlight the innovative role of OPUS in the world of Open Science, paving the way for a future where Open Science is not only encouraged but ingrained in the fabric of research and academia.
Initially, this involves five pilot organizations: three RPOs—Nova University Lisbon, the University of Rijeka, and the University of Cyprus—and two RFOs from Lithuania and Romania (Research Council of Lithuania – RCL and Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development, and Innovation Funding – UEFISCDI). Through collaborations with these organizations, OPUS provides training, aligns funding criteria with RAF principles, and incorporates RAF components into practice. Establishing a reward system that positively influences researcher behavior toward Open Science enables these five pilots to enhance their expertise in Open Science, foster trust, and promote the adoption of Open Science practices within their communities. Subsequently, the goal is to extend this practice to all other RPOs/RFOs.
From the importance of interconnected scholarly networks to the necessity of global policy environments, OPUS advocates for re-evaluating our approach to and rewarding research in the Open Science era. It emphasizes the need to incentivize beyond traditional impact factors, calling for a global shift to holistic science policies that recognize the broader scope of Open Science beyond open data. Copyright retention is crucial for responsible use. As science becomes more data-centric, scholarly processes are transforming, with open-source platforms, particularly libraries, supporting Open Science’s mission to unlock knowledge and infrastructure.
The collaboration of eighteen partners within the consortium, spanning universities, research councils, and expert organizations, plays a pivotal role in the success of OPUS. The consortium’s diverse expertise ensures a comprehensive approach to promoting Open Science. In addition to the aforementioned pilot organizations and ICoRSA, the consortium includes PLOCAN from Gran Canaria, led by project coordinator Gordon Dalton. PLOCAN collaborates with partners, including Technopolis Consulting Group Belgium (TGB), Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN), ABIS – The Academy of Business in Society (ABIS), Eurodoc-Le Conseil Europeen des Doctorants et Jeunes Docteurs (Eurodoc), Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), all based in Brussels, Belgium. Additionally, Resolvo SRL in Florence, Italy, Trustinside in Rennes, France, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France, and Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) – Vitae, and JISC in the United Kingdom contribute to the consortium’s collaborative efforts.
The OPUS project is financed by the European Union through the GRANT AGREEMENT concluded with the European Research Executive Agency (REA), under the powers delegated by the European Commission. Project number: 101058471
Head of the Dissemination and Communication Department, International Consortium of Research Staff Associations (ICoRSA)
Sal Music is the Head of the Dissemination and Communication Department at the International Consortium of Research Staff Associations, where he focuses on EU research projects. With over 20 years of experience in the communication sector, his passion for communication sciences and design initially blossomed as a hobby. Over the past 15 years, he has extended his expertise by working with international clients in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, and the Netherlands. Moreover, from freelancing to establishing his own communications agency in Hungary, Sal has amassed substantial knowledge in communications and management.
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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.
Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash.