AI Benefits for Open Science
AI Benefits for Open Science 1024 682 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been revolutionizing several fields, including the scientific community. In the last few years, AI has been increasingly used to accelerate scientific research, streamline data analysis, and optimize research assessment. In this article, we will explore how AI can be beneficial for open science and research assessment.

Open Science is an approach to scientific research that emphasizes the free sharing of scientific knowledge, data, and tools. AI can play a crucial role in promoting open science by automating certain aspects of research and making scientific knowledge more accessible to the wider public.

One of the primary ways AI can aid open science is through data analysis. AI algorithms can quickly and accurately process large amounts of data, providing researchers with valuable insights that can be used to advance scientific research. Additionally, AI can help identify patterns and trends in scientific data, which can help researchers identify potential research areas that may have previously gone unnoticed.

Another way AI can benefit open science is through the creation of intelligent scientific search engines. These search engines use natural language processing and machine learning to provide more relevant search results to researchers. This makes it easier for researchers to find relevant scientific papers, which can help speed up the research process.

In addition to promoting open science, AI can also aid in research assessment. Research assessment is the process of evaluating the quality and impact of scientific research. Traditionally, research assessment has been a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, but AI can help streamline this process.

AI can analyze scientific papers, citations, and other data sources to help researchers and institutions evaluate the impact of scientific research. For example, AI can use citation data to identify the most influential scientific papers in a given field, helping researchers prioritize their research efforts. Additionally, AI can use natural language processing to evaluate the quality of scientific papers, making it easier for researchers to identify papers that are likely to have a significant impact.

AI can also help improve the peer review process, which is a crucial component of scientific research. Peer review is the process of evaluating scientific papers before they are published, and it is essential to ensure the quality and accuracy of scientific research. However, peer review can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. AI can help automate certain aspects of the peer review process, such as identifying potential conflicts of interest and ensuring that papers meet specific criteria.

In conclusion, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way scientific research is conducted and evaluated. By promoting open science and streamlining research assessment, AI can help accelerate scientific progress and improve the quality of scientific research. As AI continues to develop and improve, we can expect to see even more significant advancements in the field of scientific research in the coming years.

Can Science Be More Equitable So That Everyone Enjoys the Benefits? Open Science is the Answer
Can Science Be More Equitable So That Everyone Enjoys the Benefits? Open Science is the Answer 1024 576 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

The concept of open science is gaining increasing recognition as a way to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. From 8 to 10 February 2023, policy-makers, researchers, scholars, librarians, publishers and others have met in New York at the third United Nations Open Science Conference to discuss how open science can drive progress towards achieving these goals. This conference was organized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library in collaboration with UNESCO and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The conference focused on a burning question: how can we make the practice of science more equitable and more transparent to ensure that everyone enjoys the benefits? Despite the best intentions of individual researchers and institutions, most new knowledge is available to a minority of readers and the scientific process itself is often opaque. Investment in research infrastructure, research funding processes and research prioritization are all masked within boundaries set by disciplines or institutional and national practices, with limited transparency and engagement.

Over 60% of research articles published over the past decade on the topic of climate change and nearly 50% of those related to biodiversity are still locked behind paywalls, even though climate change and biodiversity loss are considered existential challenges for humanity. This creates a paradox, as the right to access science and its benefits was set out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite more than 70 years having passed since the declaration was made, science is still struggling to meet its social contract.

A growing number of scientists and non-scientists now acknowledge that this barrier is not only holding back individual scientists but is also holding back scientific progress and the vital solutions needed to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss, health pandemics, and other pressing challenges. Scientists and non-scientists from all over the world have endorsed the idea of a global transition to open science.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, has observed that “Today, closed science models no longer work because they amplify inequalities between countries and researchers and because they only make scientific progress available to a minority.” She made this point in a Joint Appeal for Open Science with UNESCO, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 27 October 2020.

In 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Azoulay launched an ambitious global effort to establish the Recommendation on Open Science, the first international framework on open science. This was adopted by 193 member states in November 2021. The UNESCO Recommendation defines the norms, values, principles, and actions for achieving open science for all. Before the Recommendation, there was no universal definition of open science, and standards existed only at regional, national or institutional levels. Now, we have a shared framework and a set of actions to take across the four key pillars of openness: open scientific knowledge; open science infrastructures; open engagement of societal actors; and open dialogue with other knowledge systems.

Open science means opening up among scientists, across borders, between disciplines and beyond single communities. Bringing this vision to reality requires coordinated efforts by all. To support these efforts, UNESCO launched in December 2022 its Open Science Toolkit, a collection of resources designed to support the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

Open science has real costs, just like standard science. Ensuring that those costs are not passed onto marginalized scientists and do not disproportionately affect low-resource regions will require extra attention. Yet, none of those costs are insurmountable, particularly when funds are redirected from closed to open scientific practices.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that the scientific community can come together and beat paywalls to share science. Several institutions, major publishers, and governments acted swiftly to share publications, databases, methods, and tools in order to overcome the challenge and help the humanity.

Click here to read more by Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO

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