Unlocking the Power of Open Science: A Key to Achieving UN SDGs

Unlocking the Power of Open Science: A Key to Achieving UN SDGs 1024 760 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

On July 12, 2023, from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. ET, a significant side event took place during the High-Level Political Forum 2023: Acceleration of the Achievements of the UN SDGs. This event revolved around the essential concept of Open Science and its potential to accelerate progress towards sustainable development. In this article, we will delve into the principles of Open Science, its significance, and the steps taken to promote it, as outlined in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

Why Open Science?

Open Science is a pivotal concept that advocates for increased access to knowledge and the improvement of the scientific process in terms of quality and efficiency. At its core, Open Science is a commitment to making scientific knowledge universally accessible, allowing for broader participation and collaboration among researchers, and fostering innovation. But why is Open Science crucial, and how does it relate to the UN SDGs?

  1. Fulfilling the Human Right to Science

Open Science has the potential to fulfill the human right to science. The United Nations recognizes access to scientific knowledge as a fundamental human right, and Open Science plays a vital role in making this right a reality for people around the world. By promoting transparency, sharing, and accessibility, Open Science ensures that scientific knowledge is not confined to a privileged few but is available to all, enabling people to make informed decisions and participate in the scientific process.

Open Science Policy: The Pillars

To realize the potential of Open Science, a solid framework of policies, incentives, capacities, and infrastructures is necessary. This framework can be broken down into four key pillars:

  1. Making it Required: To encourage researchers to embrace Open Science, it is essential to establish requirements and guidelines that emphasize transparency, data sharing, and collaboration.
  2. Making it Rewarding: Reward systems need to be put in place to incentivize researchers to adopt Open Science practices. Recognition and career advancement for those who contribute to Open Science can drive cultural change.
  3. Making it Understandable: Promoting Open Science requires clear communication and educational efforts to ensure that researchers understand its importance and how to implement it in their work.
  4. Making it Possible/Easy: The infrastructure and tools for Open Science must be readily available and accessible, removing barriers to entry for researchers.

The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

In 2021, at the UNESCO 41st General Conference, 193 Member States recognized the significance of Open Science by adopting the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. This landmark decision marked the first international standard-setting instrument on Open Science and introduced a common definition and set of principles.

Key Highlights of the Recommendation:

  1. Definition of Open Science: The Recommendation provides the first internationally agreed-upon definition of Open Science, emphasizing the core values and principles that guide this movement.
  2. Actions and Stakeholders: It addresses various actors and stakeholders in Open Science and recommends actions to operationalize the principles at different stages of the scientific process.
  3. Comprehensive Monitoring: The Recommendation calls for the development of a comprehensive monitoring framework for Open Science to ensure its implementation and progress.

Why Open Science Policy?

Open Science policy is the foundation upon which the principles and values of Open Science are put into practice. The Working Group on Policy and Policy Instruments is guiding the development of Open Science policies and instruments. Here are some key factors they consider:

  1. Integration: Open Science policies should be integrated into existing scientific and research policies.
  2. Clarity and Comprehensiveness: Policies should be clear and comprehensive, leaving no room for ambiguity.
  3. Commitment to Resourcing: Adequate resources should be allocated to support Open Science initiatives.
  4. Equity and Inclusion: Policies should promote equity and inclusion to ensure that everyone can benefit from Open Science.
  5. Removal of Barriers: Barriers that hinder the practice of Open Science should be identified and removed.
  6. Monitoring and Evaluation: Effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should be in place to assess the impact of Open Science policies.

Empowering a Sustainable Future

Open Science is not just a theoretical concept but a practical approach that can accelerate progress towards the UN SDGs. By making knowledge more accessible and fostering collaboration among scientists, Open Science has the power to drive innovation and address global challenges. The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science sets the stage for a global commitment to these principles, promoting a future where scientific knowledge is a universal right, accessible to all.

Check out full presentation (UNESCO)

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