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Scientific Practice

The basis for any form of scientific work is the consideration of Good Scientific Practice as defined by DFG - regardless of how the results are published. Open Science also means free access to scientific publications and methods, research data, teaching and learning materials, open source technologies (software and hardware), and peer review processes.


Manage Research Data at HTW Dresden


Quick start to Open Science

Open Science is essentially about improving the credibility and quality of research in a digitally networked age. The most important instrument here is openness and transparency. On the one hand, research results and methods are disclosed comprehensively and freely accessible, from the generation of ideas to publication, so that other researchers can check them and also use them in their own research. On the other hand, the so-called "ivory tower" is left behind and research opens up to social actors such as politics, business, culture and society. In addition to the targeted communication of research results, this opening also means the active involvement of these actors in research processes.

Open Science thus follows established principles of good scientific practice and transfers them to the present day of networked research, among other things with the help of the potential offered by digitization. This requires appropriate infrastructures for scientific research, teaching and learning, and transfer.

Source: Begleitheft zur Ausstellung „Open Up! Wie die  Digitalisierung die Wissenschaft verändert“ (Guido Scherp / ZBW)

Open Science serves as a collective term for various movements. The most important of these are:

  • Open Access: Scientific publications are accessible to all free of charge and are not hidden behind a publisher's payment barrier.
  • Open Data: Research data is made available and published according to open principles.
  • Open Educational Resources: Materials in education and teaching are made available in such a way that teachers and learners may freely use, edit and disseminate them.
  • Open Methodology: Scientific methods used are documented and published.
  • Open Peer Review: The processes of peer review, an essential instrument of scientific evaluation for quality assurance, are comprehensible and transparent.
  • Open Source: Open source technologies (software and hardware) are used and own developments are also made available as open source for others.

Source: Begleitheft zur Ausstellung „Open Up! Wie die  Digitalisierung die Wissenschaft verändert“ (Guido Scherp / ZBW)

Open Science enables an increase in efficiency and better quality assurance in research. Particularly in the area of research data, much remains closed and is therefore not accessible to others. By making research data more readily available and easier to find, it can be reused in a wider variety of ways and duplicate collection can be avoided. And the more comprehensively used data, software, methods, etc. are documented and published, the better research results can be verified and reproduced. If this is already done for partial results or even in the planning phase, quality assurance is also possible at an earlier stage.
The transparency created by Open Science also gives society a deeper insight into science. This can create trust and strengthen credibility. Various models are currently being tested for actively involving social actors in research processes.

Source: Begleitheft zur Ausstellung „Open Up! Wie die  Digitalisierung die Wissenschaft verändert“ (Guido Scherp / ZBW)

Even if openness and transparency is the central goal of Open Science, 100% "open" is not always feasible. Sometimes there are good reasons for closedness, which is exemplified by research data. In the case of personal data, for example from medical research, data protection takes precedence and the corresponding data cannot simply be published. Provided that the persons concerned give their consent, however, protected framework conditions for use can be created. For example, access to certain groups is restricted and the data must be available in anonymized or aggregated form. In research with corporate data, there is a similar sensitivity to protecting intellectual property. It is important that the existence of data is known in the first place, without necessarily being directly retrievable.

Source: Begleitheft zur Ausstellung „Open Up! Wie die  Digitalisierung die Wissenschaft verändert“ (Guido Scherp / ZBW)

Open Science means a fundamental change of the established science system. This requires a joint effort by all the players involved. Publishers must develop new publication models, infrastructural institutions must create appropriate working environments, researchers must adapt their criteria for scientific achievements, and science policy must create appropriate framework conditions for Open Science to flourish. This change is complex and takes time. It has taken several years for Open Access to become widely established. Open Data is the next step, and intensive work is currently underway to establish the necessary infrastructures.

A major challenge is the cultural change in a science system focused on reputation. The central currency there is currently citations, especially of publications. In the context of Open Science, the measurement and recognition of scientific achievements must be adapted to the digital age in order to create incentives for researchers to adopt open practices. For example, it is not recorded how often a research dataset is cited or re-used. Activities in social media are also not mapped when researchers blog about their work or use other platforms for exchange and thus engage in important knowledge transfer, which is one of the core tasks of science. And finally, Open Science is still too little anchored in scientific education.

Source: Begleitheft zur Ausstellung „Open Up! Wie die  Digitalisierung die Wissenschaft verändert“ (Guido Scherp / ZBW)

It has always been a basic principle of scientific work that research methodology and results are published and discussed in a verifiable form. Open Science transfers this principle into the digital age with the corresponding opportunities but also challenges. The concepts of Open Science have existed in part for a long time, but only the provision of appropriate infrastructures has given them a boost. Open Access began in the early 1990s, when arXiv was created as the first archive to make so-called preprints (advance versions of a publication) from physics publicly available. Almost 30 years later, open access has become widespread and has had a fundamental impact on the entire scientific publishing industry. The concepts of Open Data even go back to the 1950s, when the first data centers were set up to promote the exchange of scientific data. However, this movement has only grown significantly in recent years.

However, the principle of openness does not only exist in science or has emerged there. Open Educational Resources, for example, is related to the Open Education movement, which advocates broad social access to education. Open source has also had a long tradition since the 1960s and is also seen as a precursor to other movements that advocate the principle of openness.

Source: Begleitheft zur Ausstellung „Open Up! Wie die  Digitalisierung die Wissenschaft verändert“ (Guido Scherp / ZBW)

Contacts on the topic at HTWD


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