Monthly Archives: March 2016

European Open Science Policy candidacy

In line with the high priority the European Commission has put on Open Science, the Directorate-General (DG) is currently working on forming an Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP). Its members will help build European policies on Open Science, ranging from inducing cultural change towards Open Science and regulations in European funding. I would like to put myself forward as a candidate to represent the early career researchers in this platform. I am drafting my candidacy letter in the open (comments welcome). If you are willing to endorse me, please comment on this post or tweet about this post and mention my handle, @chartgerink, saying you endorse my candidacy for the Open Science Policy Platform. Each endorsement counts (honestly: only those prior to Tuesday March 22 count because the application is due then).

The call for candidates explicitly states that they are looking for “high-level” experts with policy experience, indicating that this platform runs the risk of ignoring the interests of early career researchers such as PhD students or post-docs. We as early career researchers are by definition not “high-level” and lack experience on the policy level, whereas we are those who will be greatly affected by the renewed policies (and potentially the longest, because our careers will hopefully last).

For example, if European funding becomes subject to Open Science regulations, we as early career researchers will be the ones who have to figure out how to conduct research in an open fashion. Principal Investigators (PIs) receive the European grants with Open Science policies, but will have PhD students and post-docs conduct a large part of the research. As a consequence, we are saddled with the responsibilities of putting Open Science into practice. PIs have little idea how to do this, because they were never educated in this manner nor are they able to properly conduct Open Science. Thorough Open Science requires knowledge of all procedures and steps in a research process, which is difficult when you are supervising (PI) instead of conducting the research (PhD students, post-docs).

I therefore think that the OSPP requires an early career researcher as representative (whoever it may be), who knows the intricacies of putting Open Science into practice. I have been conducting my research in an open fashion since before my PhD and have found that easy Open Science is possible, but requires proper training. Currently, that training is missing. If the Commission thinks a successful cultural change to Open Science is possible without the input of early career researchers, leaving the policy-making to these “high-level”, experienced researchers only, I believe cultural change will be immensely difficult. I would like to help it succeed and partake in this platform as an early career researcher.