Updated May 26th, 2022
The open science movement is growing. It's a way for people to share their research and discoveries with the world so that everyone can get involved in solving problems such as climate change. Scientists have long openly disseminated information about the Earth or collaboratively and publicly reviewed scientific papers. Therefore, openness in science has existed for quite some time.
In fact, opening up the world of science to new discoveries and research began in Europe in the 17th century. With the advent of scientific journals, scientists were encouraged to submit their findings for distribution around the globe. Royal societies, such as The Society Of London, distributed these printed materials across continents much like our modern-day digital publishing platforms.
Learn more about the open science movement, why it’s important in the digital age and some of its benefits in this article.
Why Do We Need Open Science?
Open science is the movement that encourages scientists, academicians, researchers, and others to share transparent and accessible knowledge through collaborative networks. By openly sharing this scientific knowledge and information, it becomes easier to publish works and papers, access information, and communicate across disciplines. All work must be done in an open, reproducible way and made available to everyone.
As part of the open science movement, Open Access ensures articles and papers are free to read and reuse, while Open Data builds on that and ensures that everyone can access, use, and easily share data. This further encourages reproducible research because all major research components (such as methods or raw data) can be accessed without any restrictions on their use or distribution.
Unfortunately, not all scientific and academic journals have made the switch to electronic publishing formats, despite us living in a digital era. This prevents others from reviewing papers and makes the whole publication process extremely inefficient. In turn, scientific knowledge-sharing is hindered by an outdated model that open science discourages.
Scientific knowledge is being drastically hindered by the archaic process of using PDFs as a form of electronic paper. This outdated model was once efficient, but now that we have access to more advanced technologies like internet browsing and email, it has become overwhelmingly clear how ancient this method truly is.Open science is an interesting concept that promotes uncensored and unfettered scientific discourse. One of the core aspects includes open access, which allows for full dissemination by providing unrestricted information to those who are interested in it.
Open data also encourages reproducible research because all major components such as methods or raw data can be accessed without any restrictions on their use or distribution.
Why Is Open Science Important in The Digital Age?
Scientists are well aware of the necessity to share their research with others. However, it’s now crucial for them to show and prove their research methods and also provide open access. In some cases, this can be as simple as providing someone with an electronic copy of your work or linking directly to where you found that information.
Data repositories are also becoming increasingly important, as funding agencies want to ensure that scientists who receive money for their work provide access to any unpublished datasets they've created and make those databases publicly available digitally.
It's essential that all research elements pertinent to a discovery are published and made publicly available so they can be read, validated, and repeated. In this way, people can better understand what implications research has on a society or community.
Benefits of Open Science
Quality and integrity
Science and research should not be too concentrated in one place - it's the job of the scientific community to make sure that we're all on an equal playing field. Open access to data, assets, and outputs will allow for greater validation of results as well as a wider scope when critiquing published papers.
The benefits of open science are vast. Increased access to research results can increase awareness and encourage conscious decision-making choices among societies and communities. The economy can also benefit from increased efficiency associated with open science, which is crucial for advanced economies such as the US or Europe, but not excluding developing countries, where science plays an important role in their development strategy.
Innovation and knowledge transfer
Open science can facilitate the dissemination of research findings to provide a more streamlined route from scientific breakthroughs (like articles and datasets) to the marketplace, where they create new products.
The potential of open science is immense. International collaborations have the promise to help create a better understanding of global challenges, such as climate change and aging populations, by providing more minds on the problem. This approach can speed up knowledge transfer for finding solutions that work best for everyone - no matter where you are in this world.
Open science is not an all-encompassing process; it’s up to each individual researcher whether they want to make their research public. However, you learned about the plethora of benefits to making this research publicly available. Incorporating open science practices into your research will foster a more open and transparent scientific community.