UNESCO passes new open science "soft law"

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Glenn Hampson

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May 11, 2021, 1:34:37 PMMay 11
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Hi Folks,

 

UNESCO has just approved its draft policy for open science. This policy will be voted on by the full UN General Assembly in October. While there is a lot to dislike in this policy---unnecessary specificity, factual errors, ideological distractions, etc.---it is also important to, from a big picture view, recognize the importance of officially encouraging member states to consider open science and to provide a general framework for doing so. I think we can applaud the effort and take issue with some of the details at the same time---we’ll continue working through channels with UNESCO and member states to contribute to the specific open actions that may now be able to emerge from this consensus.

 

Best regards,

 

Glenn

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)
Program Director
Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)

 

 

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Abel L. Packer

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May 11, 2021, 2:09:30 PMMay 11
to Glenn Hampson, The Open Scholarship Initiative
Gkenn

I fully agree with you that the UNESCO draft recommendation on Open Science is important (I would say very important) and an (extraordinary collective highly democratic) effort to be applauded (as it contributes to advance science and scientific knowledge as a global public good).

As an observer, you did very good comments and contributions to the discussion!

Best. Abel

Abel L Packer

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Bryan Alexander

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May 11, 2021, 3:01:27 PMMay 11
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Glenn Hampson

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May 11, 2021, 3:15:49 PMMay 11
to Bryan Alexander, Abel L. Packer, The Open Scholarship Initiative

Not yet---I’ll circulate the cleaned up copy as soon as it’s available. The general emphasis is much like the attached version that this assembly was editing (starting from page 8 of the pdf). More detail was added and words were changed, but the structure and points are generally the same as in the attached.

 

From: Bryan Alexander <bryan.a...@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 12:01 PM
To: Abel L. Packer <abel....@gmail.com>
Cc: Glenn Hampson <gham...@nationalscience.org>; The Open Scholarship Initiative <osi20...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: UNESCO passes new open science "soft law"

 

Is the text available on the web?

 

On Tue, May 11, 2021 at 2:09 PM Abel L. Packer <abel....@gmail.com> wrote:

Gkenn

 

I fully agree with you that the UNESCO draft recommendation on Open Science is important (I would say very important) and an (extraordinary collective highly democratic) effort to be applauded (as it contributes to advance science and scientific knowledge as a global public good).

 

As an observer, you did very good comments and contributions to the discussion!

 

Best. Abel

Abel L Packer

 

On Tue, May 11, 2021, 14:34 Glenn Hampson <gham...@nationalscience.org> wrote:

Hi Folks,

 

UNESCO has just approved its draft policy for open science. This policy will be voted on by the full UN General Assembly in October. While there is a lot to dislike in this policy---unnecessary specificity, factual errors, ideological distractions, etc.---it is also important to, from a big picture view, recognize the importance of officially encouraging member states to consider open science and to provide a general framework for doing so. I think we can applaud the effort and take issue with some of the details at the same time---we’ll continue working through channels with UNESCO and member states to contribute to the specific open actions that may now be able to emerge from this consensus.

 

Best regards,

 

Glenn

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)
Program Director
Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)

 

 

UNESCO Open Science recommendation-new.pdf

Bryan Alexander

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May 11, 2021, 3:56:39 PMMay 11
to Glenn Hampson, Abel L. Packer, The Open Scholarship Initiative
Thank you, Glen.

(The first two pages make me wish I was teaching writing.  Two+ pages of paragraphs led by gerunds!)

Glenn Hampson

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May 11, 2021, 4:20:07 PMMay 11
to Bryan Alexander, Abel L. Packer, The Open Scholarship Initiative

Yeah---there’s a lot of that in the next 10 pages too 😊. The final draft is a little cleaner but that fact is amazing---done by translators who were working seven hour shifts over four days trying to simultaneously edit English and French versions on the fly, often writing based on a translations of what was being said, as the chair navigated through input using parliamentary procedure (so each amendment had to be typed on out screen, edited based on feedback, then voted on and inserted into the original text in the proper location). This was a Zoom meeting on steroids.

m.kathleen.shearer

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May 12, 2021, 7:10:19 AMMay 12
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Couldn't disagree more with Glenn. This was a huge win for open access and open science, and the consensus by member states around the nature of open science as a publicly-owned and community-governed activity was remarkable. So I say, Bravo! This will have a tremendously positive impact on science and society moving forward.

Michelle Gluck

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May 12, 2021, 9:19:14 AMMay 12
to m.kathleen.shearer, The Open Scholarship Initiative
Glenn, thanks for keeping us all abreast of the developments. 

Michelle

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ric...@gedye.plus.com

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May 17, 2021, 11:12:27 AMMay 17
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This forthcoming webinar may be of interest.

 

"Open Science to leave no one behind"
27 May 2021 15:00 CEST
Registration at : http://indico.ictp.it/event/9668/

Speakers:
Dr. Ana Persic, Science Policy and Partnerships, UNESCO
Dr. Rania M.H. Baleela, Pathogen Molecular Biologist and Open Access advocate, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan

Abstract:

“To ensure that Science truly benefits the people and the planet and leaves no one behind, there is need to transform the entire scientific process. Open Science is a movement aiming to make science more open, accessible, efficient, democratic, and transparent.” (source UNESCO, 2020)

 

In the first part of the seminar we will learn from Dr.Ana Persic how UNESCO is taking the lead in building a global consensus on Open Science, including a common definition, a sheared set of values and proposals for action. In the second part Dr.Rania M.H. Baleela of University of Khartoum (Sudan) will present the challenges faced by researchers in less developed countries in making the Open Science principles an equal opportunity and a global reality.

 

Richard

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Glenn Hampson

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May 17, 2021, 11:51:44 AMMay 17
to ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative

Thanks Richard. At the same time, UNESCO has been promoting (and will continue to do so---big plans are underway) the OSI version of an open future where inclusiveness involves understanding and working together, and also not treating openness as a bunch of separate concerns (open access + open data + open source, etc.). It will be interesting to see how this is received---which version will resonate more. Regarding the other version of open (the one just approved) where science is supposed to become a global public good and ownership, competition, and prestige will somehow fade into the past….well, look no further than Caroline’s latest paper to see how this dynamic isn’t going away any time soon:

 

Caroline S. Wagner,  Lin Zhang,, Koen Jonkers, & Loet Leydesdorff (2021; under review). A discussion of measuring the top-1% most-highly-cited publications: The case of China. Preprint available at  https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3846583 .

 

Have a good week,

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Glenn Hampson

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May 17, 2021, 1:11:49 PMMay 17
to ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative

Following up on this email---in a meeting just now which included Bhanu and his director, we discussed how the future of UNESCO’s open vision might evolve. This is the “competing” UNESCO/OSI vision, as laid out at last week’s WSIS conference (including presentations by me, Arianna, and Williams): https://bit.ly/3ygQiyG. Bhanu’s take is that UNESCO’s recently-passed open science policy is simply a recommendation, not a declaration. As such, it will be subject to much feedback, not only from other countries who didn’t speak up during last week’s meetings, but also from other channels. I think there is a lot of common ground between these approaches as well. The “essence” of both simply involves recognizing the importance of working together more effectively to improve access to scientific knowledge. TBD.

 

Best,

 

Glenn

 

From: Glenn Hampson <gham...@nationalscience.org>
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 8:52 AM
To: 'ric...@gedye.plus.com' <ric...@gedye.plus.com>; 'The Open Scholarship Initiative' <osi20...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: RE: UNESCO passes new open science "soft law"

 

Thanks Richard. At the same time, UNESCO has been promoting (and will continue to do so---big plans are underway) the OSI version of an open future where inclusiveness involves understanding and working together, and also not treating openness as a bunch of separate concerns (open access + open data + open source, etc.). It will be interesting to see how this is received---which version will resonate more. Regarding the other version of open (the one just approved) where science is supposed to become a global public good and ownership, competition, and prestige will somehow fade into the past….well, look no further than Caroline’s latest paper to see how this dynamic isn’t going away any time soon:

 

Caroline S. Wagner,  Lin Zhang,, Koen Jonkers, & Loet Leydesdorff (2021; under review). A discussion of measuring the top-1% most-highly-cited publications: The case of China. Preprint available at  https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3846583 .

 

Have a good week,

 

Glenn 

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)
Program Director
Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)

 

 


Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 8:12 AM

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David Wojick

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May 17, 2021, 1:26:49 PMMay 17
to ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative
"...  transform the entire scientific process." (!) 

Surely this is overstated. If not, then into what are we going to transform the scientific process, as we now know it?

David

On May 17, 2021, at 12:12 PM, ric...@gedye.plus.com wrote:



This forthcoming webinar may be of interest.

 

"Open Science to leave no one behind"
27 May 2021 15:00 CEST
Registration at : http://indico.ictp.it/event/9668/

Speakers:
Dr. Ana Persic, Science Policy and Partnerships, UNESCO
Dr. Rania M.H. Baleela, Pathogen Molecular Biologist and Open Access advocate, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan

Abstract:

“To ensure that Science truly benefits the people and the planet and leaves no one behind, there is need to transform the entire scientific process. Open Science is a movement aiming to make science more open, accessible, efficient, democratic, and transparent.” (source UNESCO, 2020)

 

In the first part of the seminar we will learn from Dr.Ana Persic how UNESCO is taking the lead in building a global consensus on Open Science, including a common definition, a sheared set of values and proposals for action. In the second part Dr.Rania M.H. Baleela of University of Khartoum (Sudan) will present the challenges faced by researchers in less developed countries in making the Open Science principles an equal opportunity and a global reality.

 

Richard

 

 

From: osi20...@googlegroups.com <osi20...@googlegroups.com> On Behalf Of Glenn Hampson
Sent: 11 May 2021 18:35
To: 'The Open Scholarship Initiative' <osi20...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: UNESCO passes new open science "soft law"

 

Hi Folks,

 

UNESCO has just approved its draft policy for open science. This policy will be voted on by the full UN General Assembly in October. While there is a lot to dislike in this policy---unnecessary specificity, factual errors, ideological distractions, etc.---it is also important to, from a big picture view, recognize the importance of officially encouraging member states to consider open science and to provide a general framework for doing so. I think we can applaud the effort and take issue with some of the details at the same time---we’ll continue working through channels with UNESCO and member states to contribute to the specific open actions that may now be able to emerge from this consensus.

 

Best regards,

 

Glenn

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)
Program Director
Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)

 

 

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Glenn Hampson

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May 17, 2021, 2:03:06 PMMay 17
to David Wojick, ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative

I know…. And if you read the preamble, there’s a lot more hyperbole where that came from….

 

In UNESCO’s defense, these grand, sweeping statements are part of how we commonly, on the global policy stage, inspire action and mobilize support. But at some point in the actual policy details, these sentiments need to give way to realistic action plans. Otherwise, we risk losing support, and maybe losing the megaphone entirely….

Kathleen Shearer

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May 17, 2021, 2:07:28 PMMay 17
to Glenn Hampson, David Wojick, ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative
Glenn,

What exactly do you not like about the UNESCO recommendations? Please quote the specific text you disagree with. 

They are strong and inclusive; they specifically refer to equity for developing countries, south-south collaboration, and strengthening local infrastructure, which is crucial.  

I would encourage people to read the recommendations themselves and make their own decision: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000376893?posInSet=7&queryId=64f6c09b-9508-4258-82a1-e195d9d38368

As to your comments that only a few countries participated, this is simply not true. I attended all of the meetings, and many countries provided input from all regions: Africa, Latin America, North America, Europe, Australia Asia. People can watch the recording here to see for yourself: http://webcast.unesco.org/events/2021-05-OS-IGM/#

How could it be that all these countries come to a consensus? COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated impact and importance of open science.

I think it is unconscionable that you are trying to undermine this incredible achievement, which will result in many more people / countries around the world participating in, and benefiting from research.

Kathleen 


Kathleen Shearer
Executive Director
Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR)


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JJE Esposito

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May 17, 2021, 2:20:09 PMMay 17
to Kathleen Shearer, Glenn Hampson, David Wojick, Richard Gedye, The Open Scholarship Initiative
"Unconscionable": Whoa! Big word. Please think about it before using it.

Joe Esposito



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Glenn Hampson

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May 17, 2021, 4:17:03 PMMay 17
to Kathleen Shearer, David Wojick, ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative

Hi Kathleen,

 

I also encourage everyone to read the document and come to their own conclusions.

 

Throughout the consultation process for this document, OSI encouraged UNESCO to not define open science or the compliance path to open too narrowly. While our group was heard in this process, I don’t think the final document adequately reflects these concerns---hence my concern (and it would actually be “unconscionable” if I wasn’t concerned).

 

Open science means many different things to different groups; and getting to open, especially in terms of open data collaborations, for example, is rarely if ever achieved in the way this document prescribes. Big, collaborative data enterprises are closed networks where data is pooled for specific users and under specific conditions. These kinds of collaborations work, and they’re doing incredible good for science. So, we want to encourage more of these kinds of efforts and not quash them under some global regulatory scheme that stipulates science is broken and we know exactly how to fix it. Neither is true. To the extent we can nurture and encourage more collaborations of all kinds---including north-north (which is really the purview of G10 or OECD and not UNESCO)---we should do so.

 

As for the incredible achievement part, I do agree that getting the world to pay attention to the need for improving how we share science knowledge is important. That’s the foundation. But how we make this improvement is critical. And that’s where I disagree with just about every paragraph of the UNESCO document, which is just filled to the brim with hyperbole, ideology and factual errors ---where do I start? Interestingly, it’s important to recognize that UNESCO itself isn’t done debating open science. Our partners for the last six years have been in the Communications and Information (CI) sector---pioneers in the open access movement. What passed in Paris last week came from the Natural Sciences sector. Ostensibly, the Paris draft was a unified UNESCO effort, but in reality, there is still a gulf between how CI/OSI have defined the challenge these past few years, and how NS defined it last week. There is common ground between these two positions---maybe that’s where the next phase of this effort will head.

 

So, to recap, yes---please do read the document and make up your own minds. There is no right and wrong here---just lots of important voices who deserve to be heard. Also, though, please do try to see this challenge as one where we’re all fighting for the same goal---not “open” as a goal unto itself, but the goal of improving how we share science so we can improve the value of science to all people everywhere.

 

As always, I’m happy to keep discussing this, on or off list. For more background on OSI’s thinking, our latest brief is a helpful 5-minute read: https://bit.ly/3eUlhsL.

 

Best regards,

 

Glenn

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)
Program Director
Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)

 

 

 

From: Kathleen Shearer <m.kathlee...@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 11:07 AM
To: Glenn Hampson <gham...@nationalscience.org>

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David Wojick

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May 17, 2021, 5:02:23 PMMay 17
to Kathleen Shearer, Glenn Hampson, ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative
My initial analysis. This is very good for what it is, which is a high level wish list. Unfortunately there is no hint as to how to resolve the complex and difficult issues and  questions that attend each wish. It is just a long list of supposedly wonderful things that every member nation should try to do, to the best of their ability. Visions are not guidance.

In the jargon of policy law, I find it "void for vagueness". 

David

On May 17, 2021, at 3:07 PM, Kathleen Shearer <m.kathlee...@gmail.com> wrote:



Virginia Barbour, Director, AOASG

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May 17, 2021, 7:46:02 PMMay 17
to David Wojick, Kathleen Shearer, Glenn Hampson, ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative
Hi all,
I don’t comment very often on this list but I need to correct a number of inaccuracies in what Glenn has written. Like Kathleen, I am enormously supportive of UNESCO’s work on this Recommendation (yes, this is the official term). I was part of the official Australian representation at the UNESCO meeting so saw the entire process throughout last week’s meeting. However, I am only speaking for myself here.

Just to clarify where this is at.
The meeting last week was an “Intergovernmental special committee meeting” and was convened to finalise the text of the Recommendation. The next step is this goes to member states and then to the General Conference of UNESCO for adoption by member states later this year.
The recordings are here if you'd like to see how this all unfolded over many hours
http://webcast.unesco.org/events/2021-05-OS-IGM/#
The site for the initiative overall is here
https://en.unesco.org/science-sustainable-future/open-science

The process of developing this Recommendation was expert, extensive and collegial. The process started in 2019 and has had extensive global consultation – in person, online and via written feedback. Though some countries were more vocal than others in the editing process at the meeting itself, every country (but only member countries not observers – because of UNESCO’s constitution) who wanted to could speak – on the first day for example there were statements in support from Libya, Cote D’Ivoire, as well as many others including Australia and European countries.

The final text is quite specific in its suggestions, ie here at the beginning (copied from the adopted text)
“To achieve its aim, the key objectives and areas of action of this Recommendation are as follows:
(i) promoting a common understanding of Open Science, associated benefits and challenges, as well as diverse paths to Open Science;
(ii) developing an enabling policy environment for Open Science;
(iii) investing in Open Science infrastructures and services;
(iv) investing in human resources, education, digital literacy and capacity building for Open Science;
(v) fostering a culture of Open Science and aligning incentives for Open Science;
(vi) promoting innovative approaches for Open Science at different stages of the scientific process;
(vii) promoting international and multistakeholder cooperation in the context of Open Science and in view of reducing digital, technological and knowledge gaps.”
The rest of the text fleshes this out much more and includes specific action on open access, open data, open educational resources, open software and code.

Of course, as with every document edited by committee there is clumsy text but if you were at the meeting you would know that some of it was necessary to get consensus. There were important changes made, such as the addition of text to support early career researchers, and to note UNESCO’s Global Priorities on Gender Equality and Africa.

Unlike OSI, which seems intent on simply talking about rather abstract ideas that don’t move us forward, this Recommendation, once adopted by UNESCO will, I believe, be a powerful tool for open science. Now is not the moment to be cynical or sow confusion with this important intergovernmental work. If you are really interested in seeing global change on open science, I would encourage you to read it and then to do what you can to ensure that, once adopted, your respective countries act on it.

Best wishes

Ginny Barbour



Glenn Hampson

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May 17, 2021, 9:24:26 PMMay 17
to e...@aoasg.org.au, David Wojick, Kathleen Shearer, ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative

Hi Ginny,

 

Thanks for writing. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. My replies to your specific points are below:

 

  1. “The process of developing this Recommendation was expert, extensive and collegial. The process started in 2019 and has had extensive global consultation – in person, online and via written feedback. Though some countries were more vocal than others in the editing process at the meeting itself, every country (but only member countries not observers – because of UNESCO’s constitution) who wanted to could speak.” In my personal judgement, this is incorrect. UNESCO’s CI sector has spent 20 years studying open; OSI has spent six (building, of course, on the work of both the CI sector, the many experts in OSI, and a great deal of other expert research and consultative input). UNESCO’s Natural Sciences sector ventured into the open space in 2019. Their global consultation process was not at all expert or extensive, but it did make an effort to be global, which is great. The input that UNESCO solicited was mostly supportive of open science as an ideological construct, and the original draft text was not written in an unbiased manner that aligned with recommendations of OSI, CI, or the leading thinkers in this space like Smith & Reilly (see the reference section to OSI Policy Paper 4). As for the meeting itself, this was almost entirely a markup session, not a debate over whether the policy as written was correct. Some of the representatives who were speaking did not reflect other official views coming from their countries, and most of the countries did not speak or comment at all.
  2. Recommendations like “developing an enabling policy environment for Open Science” are not specific enough to be actionable; elsewhere in the document, the specific actions (like not condoning any publication method where paywalls stand between science and access) are both idealistic and unrealistic.
  3. My recollection is that the few consensus additions to this document were mostly editorial, not substantive
  4. “Unlike OSI, which seems intent on simply talking about rather abstract ideas that don’t move us forward, this Recommendation, once adopted by UNESCO will, I believe, be a powerful tool for open science. Now is not the moment to be cynical or sow confusion with this important intergovernmental work. If you are really interested in seeing global change on open science, I would encourage you to read it and then to do what you can to ensure that, once adopted, your respective countries act on it.” OSI has, in fact, been working closely with UNESCO for six years now to develop a globally workable policy framework for open solutions that involves full regional and stakeholder involvement. OSI’s work in this regard has been far more in depth than the work that went into or is reflected in UNESCO’s open science policy (see the wealth of information posted at osiglobal.org). So, I think the reverse is true here: Now is not the time to rush to adopt an ideological construct on open that will finish the work of fracturing the global open solution space that Plan S started a few years ago. OSI will, and is, working with UNESCO to continue to develop a policy that respects the vast diversity of needs and perspectives in this space. I am heartened by the support of member countries for the future of open science, but am also worried that most countries---particularly the ones that account for the majority of the world’s research---will simply reject UNESCO’s open science approach in a few months and then leave us with a situation where we’ve created a tension in this space between the haves and have-nots that simply didn’t exist before---a situation where UNESCO has divided the world into ethical and unethical actors, rather than working to bring everyone together behind common goals. Or, they will blindly approve the policy, and the policy---and the passion it mobilized---will be wasted because it simply can’t be enacted as written. I encourage you to read OSI policy paper 4 (here) and see if there’s anything in this paper you disagree with---building a bridge between this approach and the open science policy approach is probably an important next step. Our policy paper includes specific steps that UNESCO and the global community should take, and a draft text on what a much shorter UNESCO proclamation on open solutions might read like.

 

Once again, I keep coming back to the fact that we’re on the same side here. I’ve delivered a dozen presentations over the last few years (Events & Conferences | OSI Global) detailing OSI’s approach and vision. It’s even more audacious than the vision described in UNESCO’s draft policy. This is a group that wants the future for open to be bright; but there are also many voices in this group (and elsewhere) who want the future of open to be evidence based and sustainable, not driven by ideology toward outcomes that might (and in some case, have already) make the open effort less well off than before. Paraphrasing what Susan Fitzpatrick said a few years ago, it’s remarkable how we’ve been so unscientific about our efforts to reform science. I think we can do better---I think we need to do better. And that’s the reason for my pushback here.

 

All the best,

 

Glenn

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)
Program Director
Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)

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Glenn Hampson

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May 17, 2021, 9:48:46 PMMay 17
to e...@aoasg.org.au, David Wojick, Kathleen Shearer, ric...@gedye.plus.com, The Open Scholarship Initiative

One additional point of clarification if I may: Although UNESCO’s Natural Science sector was driving the bus on this effort, this was still a UNESCO-wide effort, not a sectoral pitch. Our policy partners to-date, the CI sector, work primarily on open access and open data issue and not directly on open science; this open science pitch by the NS sector was overarching on behalf of all of UNESCO. So, what you’re hearing from me here is inside baseball stuff and my personal opinion---my personal observation that this policy doesn’t align well with previous thinking by UNESCO and OSI on open matters, but not a suggestion that all of UNESCO doesn’t stand behind this effort. They do, and as Ginny was describing, this document will now be submitted to the executive board for negotiation and then to the General Conference for its final endorsement, where member states will have their say to agree or disagree with the text in-toto or open it for changes.

 

It’s a huge accomplishment for Ana and her team in the Natural Sciences sector to have come so far so fast with this policy. Further to Ginny’s point, OSI will indeed continue to look for ways to engage with this effort so it better reflects our concerns and so we can help make some of the key action items more actionable. Policymaking isn’t about getting everything you want or going home; I recognize that we’re all fighting for the same general outcome, so will make sure to keep us engaged.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Best,

 

Glenn

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