The road towards a national strategic framework for Open Science in Romania – in a nutshell

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18 Sep 2020
Groups audience: 

The role of the Open Science Hub Romania and the support as the RDA National Node

 

Since November 2019 UEFISCDI hosts the RDA Node Romania, a role received as part of the project RDA Europe 4.0. This new role came as a piece of puzzle to complete a „hub” of activities meant to offer national support for a transition to open science (the Open Science Hub Romania – OSH-RO). The OSH-RO has the two folded mission of offering national support as well as to be the main connector to Europe and the international community with regards to open science. The hub aims to ensure a sustainable platform for dialogue amongst all research and innovation stakeholders and all relevant actors and facilitate the transition an open research ecosystem. The main connection of the OSHRO team to the international OS communities is ensured through the activities carried presently as the RDA Node Romania, OpenAIRE NOAD Romania and by being partners in the NI4OS project. Also, the hub will be directly involved in the activities which will derive from being a member in the EOSC Association.

 

The role and experience UEFISCDI has in the national RDI system (as a funder but as a policy adviser as well) and the experience gained with regards to open science led to becoming the main responsible, at national level, for developing the national strategic framework for Open Science, in collaboration with the Ministry of Research and Innovation; more details, here. This national project is directly correlated to the hub’s activities as the Romanian RDA Node and OpenAIRE Node.

 

Within this major activity of developing a national strategic approach for OS, UEFISCDI, through the Open Science Hub Romania organized in March 10th, 2020 the first event of consultation at national level - part of a larger initiative to facilitate the dialogue and exchange of good practice between international experts and the main national stakeholders (policy makers, universities and other research institutions, libraries, relevant actors from public and private sector). Inputs, support documents were developed taking into account RDA’s recommendations with regards to open research data.

The main results of this first event of consultation has been the identification of interests, needs and opportunities to be taken into account in the setting of the national strategic framework and recommendations to be included in a national action plan for open science. These will also be further discussed and new ones will be further identified in a follow-up set-up: webinars and online consultation to be planned.  

 

Discussions on the international practices and the national OS strategic framework - face to face mutual learning workshop, March 10, 2020 – in short:

 

Participants: The event gathered around 40 participants: national stakeholders mainly from the RPOs., university libraries, privat sector (Figshare), civil society (1 representative involved in OS and OER activities); team involved in drafting the national OS strategy and international experts involved with OS (see bellow).

 

The event’s design comprised of (1) a plenary session dedicated to the OS practices at international level and the national context, strategic actions proposed, international practices, success stories and (2) thematic discussions to capture the interest, needs and recommendations from the national point of view around the topics: open access to the scientific results financed from public funds, article processing charges, RDM and open access to research data, new generation metrics (OS metrics).

 

Speakers at the event were Alina Irimia (OS Hub Ro), Iryna Kuchma (EIFL, OpenAIRE), Dragoș Cătălin Barbu (ICI), Santosh Ilamparuthi (TU Delft), Victor Velter (UEFISCDI), Valentin Cojanu, remote: Niamh Brennan (Trinity College Library) & Marin Dacos (Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation). 

 

Alina Irimia presented the context, the main initiative of a national OS strategic plan development, the other European initiatives in support of this (OpenAIRE, NI4OS, RDA Europe, Science Europe). Also, she mentioned the central OS actions needed to be taken at national level in order to align to the European context and in order to set a viable national OS framework.

Iryna Kuchma presented the OS policy development and implementation at European level in terms of lessons learnt and perspectives in the EOSC development. She emphasize the main impediments to Open Access publishing which are caused by confusion, misperceptions, complexity of implementation, lack of trust and institutional commitment, but also lack of digital skills and advised these to be taken into account in the national strategy development.

Dragoș Cătălin Barbu, Head of Cloud Computing Dept. at the National Institute for Research and Development in Computer Science (ICI Bucharest), spoke about the overall development of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). He also presented NI4OS and its actions for the EOSC development and also the role UEFISCDI and ICI Bucharest have as partners in this project.

Victor Velter, coordinator of the Center for Science and Scientometry Policy at UEFISCDI, spoke about the Romania’s situation with the OS publications and the Article Processing Charges (APCs). According to his analysis regarding the situation of the Open Access works published by Romanian authors indexed in the bibliometric platforms Web of Science and Scopus, it is found that their share of the total published ones exceeds the average of the respective platforms.

Niamh Brennan, Program Manager Research Informatics at Trinity College Library, spoke about Ireland's experience with the country's strategy for Open Science and the challenges encountered when adopting Plan S. She also emphasized the importance of having a system approach to trigger a change in culture and behavior within the research community with regards to the publication of research results.

Santosh Ilamparuthi, Data Stewart at Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science Faculty at Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), spoke about the role of Research Data Management (RDM) for "Open Science", about the existing tools that can be used as well as what can be adapted to make a smooth transition to OA and OS.

Marin Dacos, Open Science Advisor within the French Ministry of Research and Innovation, spoke about the National Plan for Open Science in France and the possibility / opportunity of Romania to become part of CoNOSC, in order to align national policies / strategies on OS at European level.

Regarding research data, the position of a "National Chief Research Data Officer" and a network of "Research Data Officers" of research institutions were created in France, and the DMPs became mandatory.

Valentin Cojanu spoke about the proposal of actions for the development of a national strategic framework of Open Science of Romania. He stressed the importance of society being able to feel and use the results of science as quickly as possible, and Open Science is the answer to this need. He spoke about the impact of research in society and the fact that today we see an increasing degree of collaboration between science when not only experts, but also citizens, are involved in the progress of science, which has led to a development of the concept "Citizen Science".

He mentioned the main actions to be taken into consideration at national level (developed together with the OS Hub team as part of the SIPOCA 592 project):

 

Main recommendations (measures, targets and milestones) aligned with the strategic European goals describded in depth in a national framework document in the form of objectives and actions:

 

  • Open Access to all scientific publications (results of publicly funded research starting with the new financial programming at national level (2021-2027);
  • A totally new approach regarding sharing and reusing the research data; introduction of mandatory data management plans (DMPs);
  • Improving understanding of IPRs and other privacy issues and open licensing;
  • Ensuring transparency of APCs;
  • Promoting new evaluation and rewards systems: systems to take into account the impact of scientific research on science and societies and economies in general and the citizen involvement in science, capitalizing on the research impact.
  • Removing barriers for open science: engaging researchers and new users in open science (including citizen science);
  • Development of a new institutional structure responsible with offering constant support and monitoring of the national open science ecosystem.

 

 

Outputs: needs and opportunities captured - to be taken into account in the setting of the national strategic framework; recommendations to be included in the national action plan for open science. These will also be further discussed and new ones will be further identified in a follow-up set-up: webinars and online consultation to be planned; also, dialogue maintained via a mailing list (follow-up groups interested in open science and specific topics discussed in the events to keep an open dialogue facilitated by the OSH-RO).  

The dialogue in a stakeholders’ consultation format continued with an online interaction organized by the OSH-RO in collaboration with RDA and OpenAIRE on the importance of open science and open data in situations of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. More information on this event can be read here.

 

Further activities:

Although the project RDA Europe 4.0 will end in September 2020, the RDA node in Romania will be sustained as a collaborative activity coordinated by the OS Hub Romania part of UEFISCDI in order to ensure - in a coherent manner - an open constant dialogue and alignment to the OS European policies and initiatives, along with RDA, OpenAIRE, EOSC involvements and other collaborations in the OS (national and European) ecosystem.

Collaboration and synergetic actions will further be the key strategic approach of the OSH-RO in order to offer support at national level taking into account the EOSC development and the overall importance of open science on the rise.