What Does Open Science Require? Cultural Change

July 2, 2018 Chris Graf

Henriikka Mustajoki, Head of Development at The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, recently visited Wiley to share her thoughts on the barriers to openness and open science (besides the ongoing debate over open access and business models) and responsible science communication. Henriikka explored some of the “shadows” created by biased metrics and lack of incentives, discussed how fear of negative publicity may induce self-censorship, and talked about the one thing that’s central to all research: Authorship. Henriikka builds on her experience developing a national curriculum for research ethics in Finland and teaching ethics at Universities of Helsinki, Sydney and Glasgow. She now leads the national coordination of open science in Finland. and explained the need for a cultural change in the way we do research, share research, and work within the research community.

We caught up with Henriikka after her presentation, and asked her to sum up the session by responding to three questions.

Q. What would you say are the main barriers to openness and research, Henriikka?

A. Open science requires a cultural change and change is never easy. There are three main barriers.

a) Incentives and metrics – why would an individual researcher engage with open science if there are no career benefits? Or even worse, what if open science activities have a detrimental effect on their careers because they have promoted open science instead of producing articles in high impact journals. The open science revolution will be slow if we cannot address the issues with incentives and metrics.

b) Cost – open science is not simply unlocking scientific practices. It is a time-consuming and costly process of preparing FAIR data, funding open access publications, and creating new structures for collaboration.

c) Skills – open science requires new skill-sets in communicating openly, managing data and using collaborative tools. Time and opportunities for new skill development is an essential for open science development.

Q. And how do you think these barriers might be particularly challenging for early career researchers?

A. Early career researchers are most vulnerable as they do not have the safety of continuing employment to take risks such as trying out new ways of publishing, sharing data, collaborating, and communicating their results. Opportunities must be specifically created to enable early career researches to engage with open science.

Q. What might research publishers like Wiley do to help?

A. The world of research is changing and everyone’s skills are essential. Publishers like Wiley are skilled in communication, making an impact in the research community, and creating networks. Sharing these networks and creating new broader roles for publishing in society (where publishers help researchers, and help research find its “users”) is one way of advancing open science.

Thanks, Henriikka. So we at Wiley, like many research publishers I’m sure, are imaging new roles for ourselves, where we support researchers as they transition to more open research practices, where we lead and are part of that transition to open science, and where we do our bit to ensure that all credible research and new knowledge can be shared in the best possible ways.

What are some ways you feel publishers can support researchers and open science? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo credit: Henriikka Mustajoki

About the Author

Chris Graf

Director, Research Integrity and Publishing Ethics at Wiley // Director, Research Integrity and Publishing Ethics at Wiley, and is Co-Chair of COPE, Committee on Publication Ethics (an elected and voluntary position for which he will serve a 2-year term). Chris leads initiatives at Wiley that focus on transparency, research integrity and publishing ethics.

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