Open Science is a more open and collaborative way to conduct, publish and evaluate scientific research. Striving for more collaboration, reuse of knowledge and transparency, not only between researchers and disciplines, but also with society as a whole, is central to Open Science. Open science principles can also be extended to education by sharing and reusing online educational resources.
WUR’s approach to research and education in the Open Era
In the past several years, the Dutch government, research and funding organizations have made progress towards open science through a collaborative National Plan Open Science (NPOS).
WUR has whole heartedly embraced Open Science by establishing Open Science and Education (OSE) Programme in July 2019.
By using open science principles, WUR staff can increase their scientific impact, bring scientific knowledge to society, and provide solutions to societal challenges.
Four OSE topics
WUR OSE Programme facilitates and stimulates its researchers and teachers to put open science into standard practice. The OSE Programme focuses on Open Access & Open Scolarly Communication, FAIR data, Citizen Science and Open Education.
1. Open Access
Open Access to publications allows us to share our knowledge with the world and to become cited more often. Following the national goals, WUR aims to publish its research results Open Access (WUR Open Access policy). To help researchers select quality Open Access journals, WUR developed the WUR Journal Browser in 2018. This and our national Open Access agreementswith all major publishers will help us achieve our goal of 100% Open Access for peer-reviewed articles. In 2019, 69% of the peer-reviewed publications led by WUR researchers were Open Access.This percentage rose to 92% in 2021. WUR articles published through closed access will be publicly available through the WUR Repository (Research@WUR). Our future goal is to publicly share not only peer-reviewed articles but all kinds of WUR research output, via through Research@WUR.
2. FAIR research data
WUR has an ambition for research data to become Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) by 2025. A vision and guidelines on how to share research data (“As open as possible and as closed as necessary”) are already available. The Wageningen Data Competence Centre and an emerging WUR data stewardship network play a crucial role in helping researchers to share their data and to fulfil the requirements of both national and international policies and research funders.
3. Citizen Science
A key ambition of WUR is to serve the public good and improve the quality of life. Through Citizen Science we can meaningfully connect science and society around common matters of interest and concern. On the one hand, Citizen Science provides an opportunity to strengthen public trust in science by helping citizens better understand science and by supporting them in their pursuit of a more sustainable way of living. On the other hand, science can benefit from citizens’ first-hand experience with the issues and from their capacity to contribute to research.
In 2020, an online WUR community was created to exchange good practices and improve skills for Citizen Science research to enhance the quality of our projects and to create opportunities for new ones. In 2021, we developed a WUR Citizen Science portal to help our researchers better co-create with citizens and policy makers.
4. Outreach to the public
In its research and education, WUR addresses substantial and urgent social themes like the increasing world population and its growing demand for food, climate change, urbanisation, environmental problems and food safety. We aim not only to share exciting research results with the public but also to jointly search for potential solutions to societal problems. Within this theme, we want to enhance dissemination of research results and knowledge by WUR researchers by using the Open Science principles. Individual social media activities of WUR researchers are key to engage in important dialogues with the public. Within the OSE Programme, we will stimulate, support and train WUR researchers to engage in these dialogues.
5. Open Education
Open Education is a movement to share and re-use high-quality educational experiences and resources. It relies on open educational resources (OER) and open licensing. WUR is making considerable progress in Open Education by developing new forms of open education (e.g., MOOCs, open textbooks). WUR continuously undertakes steps to internally share and re-use material for skills education. WUR has its own portal ‘Library for Learning’, a large internal collection of open access educational materials that will be further developed and promoted within the WUR community of teachers and students.
6. Recognition & Rewards
To enable the transition to Open Science, efforts of the research community should be accordingly recognized and rewarded. The system of recognition and rewards can be transformed only if it is tackled in collaboration with other institutions considering both the national and international context. A WUR working committee, led by the Dean of Education, is currently exploring opportunities to implement a national position paper from VSNU/KNAW/NWO where team science, more diverse career paths, quantity versus quality of research results, and open science will be addressed. This includes a review of whether and how to adapt the present assessment criteria for WUR researchers, teachers and research groups.