Open science

UEF Bulletin 2017

Globalisation and digitalisation bring with them a whole new level of transparency to research and innovation activities. Open science will speed up scientific advances, enhance research practices and their transparency and, in the best case scenario, strengthen the social and economic impact of research. In addition to researchers, the “clients” of open science include public administration organisations, politicians, companies, business and industry – and also citizens.  

Open science involves a shift from the standard practice of publishing results as individual papers towards sharing and using all available knowledge at an earlier stage of the process. This is for science what the internet has been for social and economic transactions: allowing colleagues to interpret the research and end users to be involved in the production of ideas, relations and services, and in doing so, enabling a new operational model for science.  

Open science and information generated on the basis of it serve as a good foundation for administrative and political decision-making. For instance, extensive analyses of population-based health data can help in identifying local health differences, making it possible to allocate health care resources and new services in the best possible way.  

The idea of citizen science, i.e. the possibility for all citizens to engage in scientific research, is an interesting one. Similarly to sharing their spare rooms on Airbnb, people could share their knowledge and thinking for the benefit of science on open science platforms.  

For business and industry, open science is closely linked to the concept of open innovation. Open innovation is, as the name suggests, open to all companies and communities, allowing information and expertise to flow freely and to be turned into products and services increasingly effectively. This is a way of creating new markets and novel entrepreneurship. Open innovation involves a shift from linear technology transfer, which has proved to be relatively inefficient, to innovation ecosystems where researchers, companies and public sector actors share their expertise and ideas.

Open science in a wider sense is still a very complicated and hazy entity, with numerous ethical, legal and technical issues that remain to be clarified and solved. However, it calls for a shift from the “publish or perish” to the “open up your science or perish” culture, and the introduction of indicators for scientists to merit doing so.

Jukka Mönkkönen