The challenges and opportunities faced by the world today call for science that is more accessible, transparent, and accountable and for strong engagement between science and society. This need is made more urgent by the several complex and multidimensional questions that science is called upon to address today in the form of pressing environmental, economic and social crises now exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The open science movement has gained momentum across stakeholders around the world in response to the shortcomings of current science systems in ensuring the open flow of scientific knowledge. In the context of a fragmented science and policy environment, an international standard setting instrument can help set the terms of the discussion and promote actions towards advancing Open Science.
The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science is therefore envisaged as important step in promoting a global understanding of the meaning, opportunities, and challenges of Open Science. The first draft of the Recommendation on Open Science is now available for comments. The ISC, along with the IAP, our UN Major Group for the Scientific and Technological Community partners WFEO, and ALLEA, are assisting UNESCO in gathering comments on this draft text from the scientific community through an online survey which is currently open for response. The perspectives of the international scientific community and their assessment of the draft text 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 draft recommendation marks an essential step in the development of an international consensus around Open Science and the promises it holds for science to become more inclusive, cooperative, and also more innovative, it could help science unleash its full potential and take up the challenges facing our contemporary societies, such as global warming, the fight to end the shrinking of biodiversity and the struggle against pandemics.”Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General
The ISC has been contributing to mobilizing and representing the science community in this effort by advocating for and promoting Open Science as a crucial step towards realizing the vision of the Council – to advance science as a global public good. This is also one of the key priorities in the ISC Action Plan 2019-2021.
In keeping with this this, in early 2020, the ISC supported UNESCO in amplifying the global call to provide input towards the formulation of this draft Recommendation. Further, in September 2020 the ISC published a draft discussion paper, Open Science for the 21st Century, outlining the rationale for and the origins of the modern open science movement, its dimensions and its applications. The paper includes recommendations to various science systems stakeholders regarding changes necessary for the effective operation of open science.
Science is indispensable to modern societies, not a dispensable luxury. It helps us make sense of and navigate the increasingly complex world we live in. Scientific knowledge should be open and accessible to all. Open science is more efficient in creating solutions, more effective in resolving contemporary problems, and more democratic in its application.
UNESCO’s recommendations to its 193 member states will help accelerate progress in re-shaping the scientific enterprise for the 21st century. The scientific community gives this process its wholehearted support.Geoffrey Boulton, ISC Governing Board member and Vice-Chair of the ISC’s Committee for Science Planning
ISC Members are invited to share their views on the draft Recommendation by 15 December 2020 via our online survey. We encourage members to engage actively with this effort and circulate the survey within their networks to ensure the UNESCO Recommendation reflects the voice of the science community and provides a useful basis for driving a more inclusive, responsive and engaged future for science.