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Open Science: EUA discusses ‘big deals’, research data management and sets priorities for 2018

18 January 2018

The EUA High-Level Group on ‘big deals’ with scientific publishers and the Expert Group on Science 2.0/Open Science met in Brussels on 10-12 January 2018 to discuss negotiations with publishers, research data management and open data. The groups also agreed on priorities for 2018.

The High-Level Group in particular brings together university rectors and other leaders engaged in the negotiation of ‘big deals’ with publishers, and supports universities in these processes. This group met for the sixth time and the debate focused on the results of the forthcoming EUA report on its ‘big deals’ survey which the Association ran in 2016-2017 in order to map the European landscape of negotiations with large scientific publishers. The report is scheduled to be released in spring 2018 and will provide an overview of negotiations in a pan-European perspective. The data will be presented in an aggregated fashion, respecting the confidentiality policy as agreed between EUA and the participants.

As a follow-up to the October 2017 EUA position paper on Open Access (OA) to research data, the High-Level Group and the Expert Group on Science 2.0/Open Science welcomed in a common session Dr Emanuel A. Fronhofer (CNRS ISEM, Université de Montpellier) and Ms Maud Evrard (Science Europe, Brussels) to elaborate on this topic. While Dr Fronhofer presented the perspective of a practising evolutionary ecologist, Ms Evrard outlined the policies of European funders on research data management (RDM). Dr Fronhofer highlighted the benefits of sharing data and code which led, inter alia, to new international collaboration with research groups in India and the USA. His presentation also touched upon challenges of data sharing, such as lack of incentives and the need to instigate cultural change within disciplines in a bottom-up manner.

These challenges were also reflected in Ms Evrard’s presentation. Taking the Science Europe Roadmap as a starting point, she outlined a two-pronged approach. This contained both fact-finding among existing policies of its members in a top-down manner and a complementary, disciplinary approach suggesting setting up domain data protocols. Thirdly, Daniel Wyler, member of the Expert Group on Science 2.0/Open Science, underlined the holistic nature of the Open Research Data policy of the Swiss National Science Foundation. The Swiss policy notably includes, amongst others, compliance with the FAIR data principles; additional funding opportunities for data preparation and uploading costs; and recognition of data sharing efforts when assessing the scientific output of researchers along the lines of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

For its part, the Expert Group on Science 2.0/Open Science discussed a variety of topics at its eighth meeting, including the forthcoming report on the 2016-17 edition of EUA’s annual survey on institutional OA policies; legislative developments, such as the ongoing EU copyright reform and an upcoming revision of the directive on the re-use of public sector information (PSI directive); skills for Open Science; research assessment; and citizen science. While the 2016/17 EUA OA survey report is set to be published in mid-February and will supply many insights into the progress of universities’ efforts in OA across Europe, the group, most importantly, agreed to set its priorities for 2018 on three areas of major concern within the Open Science policy debate: novel ways of research assessment; citizen science; and Open Science skills and education. In line with the February 2017 EUA response to the EC proposal for a directive on copyright, the group also agreed to continue its push towards a mandatory copyright exception for non-commercial educational purposes through a joint open letter addressed to members of the European Parliament.

Discover more about EUA’s work in the area of Open Science.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96