Open science at Linnaeus University
Open science is about ensuring that research benefits everyone in the best possible way. Both UNESCO and the EU have taken a clear position in favor of open science, and the EU actively supports the transition towards open science. In Sweden, SUHF has drawn up a roadmap for the Swedish higher education institutions. Linnaeus University's Vision 2030 states: "Linnaeus University is part of society. We want to work openly to promote academic development and make an impression". This is the core idea of open science: knowledge should be freely communicated to society, and society, in turn, should be able to leave its mark on and contribute to research.
The goal of Linnaeus University's open science project is for the entire university to be guided by the principle of "as open as possible, as closed as necessary". Achieving this requires effective support where it is easy to do the right thing. The ultimate justification for this is to realise academic freedom in a digitalised world. Open science is the Enlightenment ideal adapted for the digital age.
This webpage serves as a resource to inspire, explain, and guide you in any questions about open science. We also present the latest news from Linnaeus University's portfolio project on open science.
Project: Open science
New project assignment on open science
On 5 April 2023, the vice-chancellor decided on a project assignment for open science. The project includes five sub-projects and will run for two years. The steering group's start-up meeting took place on 13 April.
The five sub-projects with project leaders are as follows:
- Open access to research data – Koraljka Golub (Lnu representative in EOSC)
- Open access to scientific publications – Rickard Carlsson
- Open learning resources – Ann-Katrin Perselli
- Incentive structure in the form of funding and merit – Joacim Hansson (Lnu representative in CoARA)
- Collaboration and citizen engagement - Ann-Charlotte Larsson
Background information and project directives can be found on Medarbetare.
You are welcome to get involved
The work with open science is exciting, necessary, and sometimes tricky. Open science will affect everyone at the university. High participation from all parts of the university is needed to illuminate and discuss what is possible and desirable based on our conditions. If you have questions about the project or want to know more about how you can get involved, contact project coordinator Bo Bergbäck and deputy project coordinator Mattias Gunnarsson and Helena Wickenberg Juhlin.
Latest news from the project
Here you can find news from the project on open science and the various sub-projects.
All news items
Current affairs at Linnaeus University
Here you will find information about various events and activities related to the work on open science at Linnaeus University. This could include webinars, seminars, or workshops.
News about open science
Here you can take part of national and international news about open science. There are also tips on conferences and webinars.
Support for researchers
Welcome to explore the research support offered by the university's various departments, gathered under a common portal. The support on these pages follows the research process as it may look in an open science system.
How to make your research practice more open
Here you can find good examples and tips and tricks from colleagues at Linnaeus University as well as from other parts of Sweden and the rest of the world!
What is Open Science?
Open science is defined in the National Library of Sweden’s proposal for national guidelines for open science, based on UNESCO's recommendations, as follows:
- Open science aims to make scientific knowledge openly accessible, available, and reusable for everyone.
- Through openness and transparency in all parts of the research process, scientific quality and trust in research are strengthened. It enables increased scientific collaboration and knowledge exchange, benefiting both science and society.
- Open science encompasses all scientific disciplines and research approaches, from basic research to applied research.
The recommendations also highlight six priority areas:
- Open access to scientific publications
- Open access to research data
- Open research methods
- Open learning resources
- Public participation in the research process
- Digital infrastructure that supports open science
These areas largely, but not entirely, coincide with the areas that make up the sub-projects in Linnaeus University's portfolio project on open science. Important sources of inspiration for the initiation of the project were SUHF's Nationell färdplan för öppen vetenskap och Vägledning för implementering av färdplan för öppen vetenskap.
Below, various aspects of open science are described in more detail. You can also read more and find links to relevant documents, initiatives, and policy developments, both nationally and internationally.
Open access to scientific publications
Open access means that research results are published freely available on the web, allowing everyone to read, download, print, copy, distribute, and cite the material, provided that no copyright laws are violated.
Open access has emerged as a protest against high subscription costs, which limit the dissemination of publications. It also challenges a system that requires universities to pay three times for research – firstly through research grants, secondly through the peer-review process conducted by researchers during their working hours, and finally through subscription fees necessary for higher education institutions to access the publications.
The fundamental idea of open access is that publicly funded research should be freely available to all, thereby facilitating future research and enabling citizens to access scientific information. Open access is an established alternative to traditional scientific journals, and many research funders require that results from the research they support be published openly. It is primarily research articles and conference contributions that are published openly, but raw data, chapters, and books can also be published in this way.
Open access to research data
In open science, the accessibility of research data is a crucial component. Research data should be "as open as possible and as closed as necessary."
The work on access to research data is conducted in line with the FAIR principles, meaning that research data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. FAIR is not just about open access to data but also addresses how data can be structured and described to be understood by others, both humans and computers, and how data can be secured for the future.
Ensuring access to research data, for example, allows other researchers to reuse it and to verify the study conducted, thereby contributing to the transparency of the research.
Making research data available does not mean that it is freely distributed and can be used by anyone. For instance, if there are sensitive personal data in the dataset, a confidentiality assessment must be conducted before others can access it. Even in cases when a dataset cannot be shared freely, a description of it can be made available. This way, others receive information that the material exists and understand the conditions for accessing and reusing it.
The issue of access to research data is being addressed at various levels. The EU has initiated a project to link different entities to a common infrastructure for research data known as The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).
In Sweden, the Swedish Research Council is responsible for the work on open access to research data and for implementing the government's vision of an open science society by 2026. Another player in this context is SND (Swedish National Data Service), which works to create opportunities for researchers to describe, share, and reuse research data. This is done, among other things, through a network where what is known as DAUs have been established.
At Linnaeus University, a DAU has been established which, among other things, can provide support to the university's researchers on issues related to access to research data.
Open research methods
Open research methods are described in the proposal for national guidelines for open science as follows:
["Open research methods involve the entire workflow needed to go from observation to results and conclusions. This includes open protocols and workflows, open software and source code, and open computational models. It also involves publishing detailed metadata and documentation to enable peer review and ensure transparency about how research results have been achieved"].
The motivations for open research methods are also highlighted as follows:
["Open research methods enhance the quality of research through increased reproducibility. This means the ability to reproduce or duplicate results with the same data or material and methodology as the original research. Open research methods have potential for adaptation or reuse in other contexts and across various disciplines.
By making research methods openly available, researchers avoid spending both time and funding on developing approaches that already exist. New procedures and methods also become available for others to use more quickly"].
The link below leads to FOSTER, a portal with many resources for those who want to learn more about open science and open up their research practice.
Open learning resources
Open learning resources are learning, teaching, and research materials, independent units with educational content in any format and medium. Open learning resources are also an important part of open science, as the development of better materials and principles for sharing benefits students, teachers, and researchers worldwide.
A commonly used definition of open learning resources is: “digitised material offered freely and openly for teachers, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, studying, and research” see p. 9 OECD (2007), Att ge bort kunskap gratis: Framväxten av öppna lärresurser, The Knowledge Foundation, Stockholm.
Open learning resources can be images, audio, animations, text, video, or combinations of these. Together, several learning resources can form parts of a course or an entire course. They are either public or have a copyright license, which shows under what conditions the learning resource may be used, copied, processed, distributed, and shared with others. Creative Commons is one of the most common open copyright licenses.
Public participation in the research process
Citizen science involves engaging citizens in research processes and allowing the surrounding community to address problems that need to be solved.
In addition to implying that citizens have free access to the results of research, it also means that citizens can participate in research projects, be involved in sub-projects that require data collection, and be the focus of the research. In this way, the invisible wall that has existed between universities and society is erased, and the involvement of higher education institutions in the societal process is made clear. At the same time, the taxpayers who fund these institutions gain an understanding of the benefits that universities provide.
Digital infrastructures supporting open science
In the National Library of Sweden’s proposal for National guidelines for open science, "Digital infrastructures supporting open science" is highlighted as one of the six priority areas within open science.
The following is an excerpt defining the area:
["Digital infrastructures supporting open science can include various types of systems, services, and protocols used in research. They enable scientific results to be collected, stored, managed, and made available. They also play a key role in building an efficient research and innovation environment where processes for open science are included. Openly accessible services contribute to increased availability and use of research results, as well as to collaboration between users within or outside the scientific discipline. By contributing to the development of standards and principles for descriptive metadata about research, digital infrastructures supporting open science facilitate the reuse of, for example, research data, publications, and research methods. It also facilitates monitoring and evaluation of open science, thereby contributing to development.
The operation and development of digital infrastructure supporting open science occur at individual organisations or through collaboration between organisations, nationally and internationally. They are typically supported by a combination of membership fees and/or grant funding and are operated by public research organisations or as non-profit initiatives.
Within the EU, the development of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is ongoing. The ambition is to connect and build on existing solutions and infrastructures within the EU countries. In Sweden, the Swedish Research Council has been tasked with coordinating and promoting Swedish involvement in EOSC"].
During the Swedish EU Presidency in 2023, issues of open science were in focus. At a conference in Lund in June, the Lund Declaration on Maximising the Benefits of Research Data was launched, a declaration on how society can increase the benefits of research data. The document emphasises the importance of FAIR and open research data and the importance of common infrastructure. You can learn more in this press release.
Incentive structure in the form of funding and merit
Questions about merit and research evaluation are particularly complex as they are intertwined with other aspects of open science and consequently will need to be related to what a more open science system will result in, both in terms of research outcomes and its implementation.
Publication is currently closely linked to merit. However, there is a desire from parts of the research community as well as from political decision-makers to change and develop the thinking around merit and evaluation, as well as its practice, so it better responds to an open science system and values and encourages a more open research practice. Linnaeus University has engaged in this issue by signing The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, known as DORA, along with 3 017 other organisations and higher education institutions (and 21 114 individuals). In 2012, a group of editors and publishers of scientific journals met during the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology and discussed the importance of "improving the way scientific research results are evaluated by funders, academic institutions, and other parties". This meeting resulted in the following general recommendation: Do not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual researcher's contribution, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions. To view the declaration in its entirety and learn more about the DORA perspective and other relevant sources that address research evaluation, see the link list below this text.
SUHF also addresses this issue in the recommendation nationell färdplan för öppen vetenskap [national roadmap for open science]. Initially, it refers to the EU’s Agenda for open science 2025, where one of the points is a desire for a scientific ecosystem characterised by "Evaluation methods that balance qualitative and quantitative metrics". Consequently, SUHF recommends that Swedish higher education institutions join DORA. The seventh point in what is termed the Responsibility of higher education institutions is "to develop an incentive structure that promotes and values open science, for example in merit assessment and performance-based allocation of funds".
Another, even more current initiative that Linnaeus University is involved in is The Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA). The coalition's agreement is currently signed by 644 research-related organisations and higher education institutions, including UKÄ, the Swedish Research Council, FORTE, and Vinnova, as well as universities such as Stockholm University, Lund University, Umeå University, and the Royal Institute of Technology. One of Linnaeus University's sub-projects on open science deals with how engagement in CoARA can be intensified and what impact it has on the university's operations.
Another relevant initiative that concerns research evaluation is the so-called Leiden manifesto for research metrics, published in the journal Nature in 2015, which stipulates 10 principles for the responsible use of bibliometrics in research assessment and evaluation.
Finally, we would like to mention UNESCO's recommendations for open science from 2019, which also raises the issue of merit, for instance in an (so-called) action area termed: "Promoting a culture characterised by open science and coordination of incentives for open science". Here, several calls and recommendations are formulated on how this should be done. Among other things, DORA is mentioned, and it calls for "increased focus on the quality rather than the quantity of research results", similar to what SUHF puts forward in its recommendations.
Other aspects of open science
Open peer review
Open peer review (also sometimes called post-publication review) is a concept in scientific publishing where the author publishes their article text before it undergoes review.
There are various versions, but the fully open process means that the reviewers' texts are published alongside the article, open for everyone to read. Discussion functions of various kinds can also be linked to the publication so that others besides reviewers can contribute with reasoning.
An example of an open review process can be seen in Open Research Europe (ORE), which is the EU’s publishing platform for research results originating from projects funded through Horizon 2020. Another example is F1000Research, on which ORE's services are based. There are also individual journals that use an open review process. An example is Meta-Psychology, which is published on Linnaeus University's publishing platform LnuOpen.
Open innovation is largely about streamlining the innovation process by involving multiple actors, importing external ideas and perspectives to enrich one's own internal starting points, and also exporting ideas that one does not wish or cannot realise oneself, in order to generate something new that can be capitalised on, both internally and externally through licensing, collaborations, and spin-off companies.
Therefore, it is important to clearly define who owns which intellectual assets, who is allowed to use them, and in what way.
The EU's innovation discourse is largely based on the arguments about open innovation as described by Henry W. Chesbrough (who coined the term in 2003) in "The Open Innovation Model":
"In this new model of open innovation, firms commercialize external (as well as internal) ideas by deploying outside (as well as in-house) pathways to the market. Specifically, companies can commercialize internal ideas through channels outside of their current businesses in order to generate value for the organization. Some vehicles for accomplishing this include startup companies (which might be financed and staffed with some of the company’s own personnel) and licensing agreements. In addition, ideas can also originate outside the firm’s own labs and be brought inside for commercialization. In other words, the boundary between a firm and its surrounding environment is more porous, enabling innovation to move easily between the two".