What is Open Science?
Open Science means research that is conducted with a strongly cooperative approach: this includes the generation, evaluation and interpretation of data and results (i.e. the “production process”) as well as the reuse and sharing of methods and research data or the free accessibility of publications and findings (the dissemination and (further) use). This cooperative creation and use of research results is not limited to scientists from various disciplines, but also includes companies, public authorities, stakeholders and citizens. If knowledge and data are shared with all relevant actors as early as reasonable and possible in the research process, this will not only contribute to the dissemination and application of the latest findings, but will also accelerate the research and innovation process, increase creativity and trust in science, and help to increase Europe’s competitiveness.
Open Science and Universities
Austrian universities are central players not only in basic research; translation and application-oriented research are also central tasks of universities. In doing so, they do not act in isolation, but are closely networked with national and international cooperation partners. These include not only other universities, but also non-university research institutions, companies ranging from industry and SMEs to start-ups, funding agencies and donors, application partners, decision-makers and, of course, society and the public. Since a large part of the knowledge, research data and findings are created at and with universities, and since universities train the researchers of tomorrow, a transformation towards Open Science can only succeed if universities – in the context of their partners – play an active role.
It is important to note that Open Science is not an end in itself, but can enable universities to fulfill their tasks – high-quality research and teaching as well as impact on society – even more efficiently and effectively for the common good. Universities have a variety of tasks and challenges and operate in a complex, competitive environment. Open Science is a new, important aspect that needs to be reconciled with the other requirements and that presents new challenges and opportunities.