Providing researchers with the skills and competencies they need to practise Open Science - Report of the Working Group on Education and Skills under Open Science✎
Open Science is transformative to the research landscape, allowing research to be carried out with a high degree of transparency, collegiality, and research integrity. For Open Science to become a reality, researchers need appropriate discipline-dependent skills training and professional development at all stages of their research careers. To facilitate this, the Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility (SGHRM) Working Group (WG) on ‘Education & Skills’ worked with a specific mandate to propose recommendations to ensure that researchers in Europe have appropriate skills and competences to practice Open Science . The overarching goal is to ensure that OS skills become an integral and streamlined component of the standard education, training and career development paths of researchers, and if possible even at earlier career stages, in schools and universities.
The Working Group conducted a survey between March and May 2017 to assess the current situation. A total of 1,277 answers were received by researchers across Europe, of which nearly 50% were doctoral candidates (R1). The remaining 50% were distributed across career stages, from the postdoctoral to the very senior research career levels. A majority of researchers are unaware of the concept of Open Science. What is most known is open access publishing, and there is a very high interest in open access data management practices. Researchers indicate that training opportunities for open access and open data are not yet widely offered. 3 out of 4 researchers indicate that they have not yet participated in any open access or open data course but would like to. Although an even higher proportion of researchers deem data management relevant for their research, there is insufficient data archiving support and infrastructures at the institutional level. Given that research data production, documentation and archiving is essential for a majority of researchers, it is crucial that they are aware of, trained and supported with the best technologies to enable and enhance professional conduct. The skills necessary for Open Science are identified and include; open access publishing; data management and open data; enabling professional research conduct; citizen science. An overview of the current Open Science skills provision landscape is given. The need to engage researchers at all levels in Open Science is discussed and a European Skills and Qualifications Matrix for Open Science is proposed. The importance of embedding Open Science in ERA policy is treated and the specific cases of the Innovative Doctoral Training Principles and the European Framework for Research Careers are presented.
The following are key recommendations to enhance open science skills in the research community:
- Open Science policy; including the analysis of ERA policy through the lens of Open Science, and making Open Science skills an integral part of the next framework programme (FP9) with dedicated funding.
- Guidelines to implement Open Science, which include a revision of the major European Guidelines and Frameworks concerning researchers’ skills and career development to include Open Science, i.e. the European Framework for Research Careers, the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R), and the Innovative Doctoral Training Principles (IDTP). This also includes the development of FAIR institutional guidelines, in particular for Open Access publications and Open Data.
- Raising awareness of Open Science policy initiatives, institutional and funding agency guidelines, as well as the broader value of Open Science practices at the personal, professional and societal levels.
- Training Researchers for Open Science ensuring career stage appropriate accredited and modularised Open Science skills training and professional development (covering R1-R4 researchers) regarding open access publishing, open data and data management, professional research conduct and broader citizen science skills.
- Providing Support for Open Science, including infrastructure, technical, legal, professional and implementational support from institutions.
- Career development for Open Science, such that Open Science activities are recognised by funders as part of grant evaluation criteria, are accounted for in the recruitment and progression of researchers, and are recognised and rewarded (see also recommendations of the Rewards Working Group under SGHRM) with the highest degree of visibility (skills visibility and transparency).