A website for monitoring open science worldwide has been launched as part of ongoing work for the European Commission.
The website hosts a monitor developed by RAND Europe, Deloitte, Digital Science, Altmetric and figshare, which provides stakeholders, including researchers, policymakers, funders, libraries and publishers with access to data and trends on open science.
The overarching aim of open science is to increase transparency, collaboration, communication and participation on research projects to improve their scientific outcomes. Open science is one of three priority areas for European research, science and innovation policy.
The characteristics of open science that are monitored on the website are: open access to research publications, open research data, open scholarly communication and citizen science.
These characteristics and associated indicators have been validated by policymakers, researchers, funders and others involved in open science activities through focus group consultations organised through a RAND Europe study. The majority of the group representing policymakers, funders and libraries (27 participants) strongly agreed (82 per cent) that an open science monitor would be useful to them, while 71 per cent of researchers (32 participants) also strongly agreed.
Respondents cited the ability to keep up-to-date with progress in open science as the biggest benefit. Respondents also hoped the monitor would allow them to demonstrate that open science practices are increasing, with this potentially helping to encourage others to get involved in the process.
Elta Smith, an associate research group director at RAND Europe, said: 'Making research publications and data more widely available coupled with an increased interest in transparency in the research process are major drivers of open science. Open science practices are anticipated to grow significantly in the next few years with involvement from an increasing diversity of stakeholders.
'However, evidence related to open science practices and their benefits to research is still lacking, which represents a challenge for policymakers. The monitor will provide information to policymakers and other stakeholders about open science trends across different countries and research fields and offers examples of impact related to specific open science-related initiatives.'