The three pillars of open science

The three pillars of open science
The UOC's Library works to facilitate open access, research data management and open electronic resources (OER).

From 5 to 7 July, LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries) held its 46th annual conference at the University of Patras in Greece. As the conference's theme ("Libraries powering sustainable knowledge in the digital area") indicates, the meeting focused on the latest trends in library services and projects in digital environments. Clara Riera, Director of Library Services for Research, highlights two main issues: open electronic resources and research data management.

How can open access become the default option?

The international alliance SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) is looking for answers to this question. It works to facilitate the exchange of research results and open-access educational materials with the goal of democratizing access to knowledge, fast-tracking discovery and increasing return on investment. At the conference, SPARC presented its strategic plan for attaining the goals set for open science.

Research data management

In its guidelines, the European Horizon 2020 programme not only provides for free access to research publications but also to the data generated during performance of scientific research. For example, statistics, results of experiments or surveys. A number of institutions presented their experience in this field:

  • At present, 90% of research data is still available only by payment, as Thomas Bourke from the European University Institute highlighted.

  • Wageningen University and Research presented its Data Management Support Hub. It has created a series of storage and filing guidelines, taking into account the needs of different disciplines and applying FAIR principles.

  • Examples were given of how the libraries can provide support in metadata.

  • The low uptake of data management by researchers was highlighted. Everyone undertaking research should be made to understand their role as data creators and the benefits this brings to their daily work. Along these lines, the UOC is working on research data management in a cross-disciplinary group which includes the Legal Office, OSRT, Technology and representatives from the Offices of the Vice Presidents.

Open electronic resources (OER)

"Teach students to work open, train our future researchers", proclaimed Hilde van Wijngaarden from the University of Amsterdam. She argued for recognition of open education as a basic pillar within open science and the importance of using open-access publications in education. In this context, librarians have an essential role to play: they can provide support in copyright issues, in searching for the most relevant open-access resources, or in their creation and management (metadata, OER repository, version management). In fact, in the United States, people are already talking about the “OER librarian”.

Clara Riera holds an official llicenciatura degree in Information Science from the University of Barcelona (UB) and she has a postgraduate qualification from the UOC's Faculty of Health Sciences. Since 2014 she has been director of Library Services for Research at the UOC.