The Open Science movement

with Sabina Leonelli

The Open Science movement has recently gained momentum among publishers, funders, institutions and practicing scientists across all areas of research. It is based on the assumption that promoting 'openness' will foster equality, widen participation, and increase productivity and innovation in science. In short, the goal of Open Science is to make scientific research and data accessible to all. It includes practices such as publishing open scientific research, campaigning for open access and generally making it easier to publish and communicate scientific knowledge.
Sabina Leonelli is professor of philosophy and history of science at the university of Exeter in the UK, where she co-directs the center for the study of the life sciences. Her research focuses on the methods and assumptions involved in the use of big data for discovery, the challenges involved in the extraction of knowledge from digital infrastructure, and the role of the open science movement within current landscapes of knowledge production.
I met Sabina during her visit to Ghent University in Belgium, and I asked her about the advantages of Open Science as well as the challenges of implementing 'openness' into the current research practices. Several obstacles needs to be overcome in order to achieve transparency and openness, at legislative as well as day-to-day practical level, including rewards for scientists that devote time and resources to documenting their data sets, to assessment methods to monitor whether data are actually being re-used - not to mention the gap between research fields whcih produce very different types of data (from biology to the humanities). Sabina is an expert in Open Science and she gives a very realistic, objective and well informed account of where we are today and where the Open Science movements wants us to go, in Europe and across the world.

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