Open Science: an international effort

Participants of the IAU meeting - image Annemiek van der Kuil

Early in April, some twenty international colleagues visited Utrecht with the International Association of Universities (IAU) to see how Utrecht University is working on open science.

Experts from the various open science tracks such as fair data, open access, public engagement, recognition & rewards and open education, gave presentations in a two-day programme on how they are working to implement open science in the university. The international visitors are involved in open science at American, Canadian, Thai, South African and several European universities to name but a few.

“Utrecht University is a real leader in systematically implementing open science on a large scale.”

Adam Kola, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Polen

Not only this visit, but also initiatives by Unesco, the European Commission and various funding organisations, show that open science is not a Utrecht focus or just a movement in the Netherlands. Open science is a truly global shift in how science is viewed and practised.

"The participants all expressed appreciation for a highly stimulating programme with an introduction to the broad array of cultural and institutional transformations that open science requires."

Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary-General, International Association of Universities

A conscious part of UU's open science mission is therefore to make space for international exchange a few times a year. The more universities move towards, for example, recognition & rewards and open access and the more universities move away from university rankings, the better that is for the success of the open science transition worldwide.

UU signs Barcelona Declaration

That Open Science requires an international effort is also shown by the Barcelona Declaration. Utrecht University will sign the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research, promoting openness of research information. The Coimbra-network, the European university network of which Utrecht University is also a member, will also sigh the declaration

The declaration focuses on meta-information on research, such as data on researchers, organisations, activities, the research process, use, assessment and impact of research.

The aim is to contribute to responsible research evaluations and make inclusive and balanced information available for decision-making. The signing is in line with UU's open science vision and emphasises the importance of scientific collaboration and societal impact.

It provides all parties with access to the same information for better collaboration, planning and evaluation. The concrete commitments of the Barcelona Declaration are a valuable step towards a situation where "open, unless" applies, similar to the FAIR data principles for research data and the CoARA agreement for research evaluation.