The open science annual review 2021: key topics and news

The annual review on open science 2021 brings together key topics and news from last year. The main themes in Finland were the renewal of open science legislation, funding of domestic scholarly journals and the achievements of national coordination in open science.

(Tämän artikkelin sisältö on saatavilla myös suomeksi: pääaiheet ja uutiset.)

Key topics x 3

Legislation on open science will be reformed

In 2021, two EU directives related to open science were under preparation in Finland as they were implemented to Finnish legislation. The EU’s Open Data Directive entered into force in Finland in July (Laki julkisin varoin tuotettujen tutkimusaineistojen uudelleenkäytöstä). A more active debate has focused on the renewal of the Copyright Act related to the Digital Single Market (DSM) Directive. From the point of view of open science, the draft government proposal includes two essential issues: the data mining carried out for the purposes of scientific research and the self-archiving of scientific articles in open access publication archives (green open access). Retaining the right to self-archive means that the researcher has the opportunity to self-archive his or her own publication regardless of the publisher’s policies. Similar legislation is in force in six EU countries, and the Rights Retention Strategy is part of the major research funders’ Plan S. The government’s proposal on amending the Copyright Act is scheduled to be submitted to Parliament in 2022.

Funding of Finnish scholarly journals unresolved

Funding for the open access of Finnish scholarly journals has been an issue for several years. In 2021, the theme was again more on the agenda, and the working group on national periodic scholarly publications introduced three funding solutions – the self-archiving model, the consortium model and the so-called partial solution – as well as the views of the academic community on the different models. The theme of domestic scholarly publishing was also discussed in a series of articles on the website. The opening part of the series also considered different options for open access journals:

  • self-archiving in repositories aka green open access (OA) does not solve the funding problem
  • open access journals with article processing charges (APCs) aka gold OA options have failed in terms of price, unequal treatment of researchers and administrative burden
  • open access journals without APCs aka diamond OA options are lacking the payer(s), and Finland would need a community payer.

Summary of the new policies and the work in national coordination

Of the policies of open science in Finland, the policy component on open access to research data was completed in 2021. It features five objectives: (1) all research projects have a data management plan (DMP); (2) organisations have data management policies; (3) metadata of research data supports the opening and the use of data; (4) there are appropriate storing solutions for research data; (5) organisations have an operating model for developing skills, training and services related to research data. The timetable for the first target is 2023, and for the others 2022.

Work began in 2021 to reform the open science monitoring in Finland, and the new monitoring is scheduled to begin in 2022. The monitoring model will be confirmed in the spring, but it is already possible to test the model using a simulator.

The self-assessment report of the national coordination of open science in Finland – aka the Open science and research (OScAR) – was completed last year. The report goes through voluntary coordination work from different perspectives highlighting both strengths and potential threats. The national coordination work in Finland has been very active and effective throughout its existence, since 2018.

Open science news x 10

Plan S came into effect – the first recommendations also for books

In 2021, the Academy of Finland (AoF), a member of the COAlition S of major research funders, began implementing the Plan S, which includes the immediate open access of research results. In AoF funding applications, the Plan S took effect in the fall 2021. The AoF has its own guidelines for open access publishing in accordance with the Plan S.  So far, the Plan S has only covered research articles, but last year the first Plan S recommendations for monographs were published. The editors of the Helsinki University Press review the Plan S recommendations – the article also evaluates the suitability of different CC licenses for book publishing.

Springer’s white paper tried to limit the OA options

In the fall of 2021, Springer Nature published a white paper based on its own research, Going for gold: Exploring the reach and impact of Gold open access articles in hybrid Journals, the main result of which was that open access hybrid articles have more impact than non-open articles and self-archived articles. The conclusion was clear: the best option for future open access is publishing (for a fee) in open access journals (gold OA), and self-archiving in repositories (green OA) must be forgotten. However, the further discussion – see the posts from COAR and SPARC – drew attention to the methods how the study had been conducted and questioned its conclusions: the articles selected for the study had been deliberately selected and did not take into account the actual use of self-archived articles, and also the significance of the repositories was seen very narrowly.

The research data policy was updated at the University of Helsinki

The update of the University of Helsinki’s research data policy was completed in December 2021, and the new data policy can be found in the Helda repository and on the University of Helsinki’s website. The research data policy includes principles and objectives for the management of research data, data services and the responsibilities of various actors (see background information on the UH’s data policy). The more detailed implementation of the data policy will be defined in a plan of action to be drawn up during 2022.

Expected results and impacts of open science in Horizon Europe.

Horizon Europe requires open access

Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation framework program for 2021–2027, takes open science into account in its evaluation criteria. It requires ”immediate open access to all scientific publications and
responsible research data management so that data are Findable,
Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable (FAIR)” (see Horizon Europe, open science). In 2021, the Open Research Europe publishing platform (free of charge) was launched, and it is also intended for Horizon Europe researchers as an open access publishing option.

A guide to open educational resources (OER) published

In 2021, A guide to open educational resources (in Finnish) was published for higher education teachers. A compact online guide advises where to find open educational resources, how to use them, and how to produce your own materials. The guide also includes a section on Creative Commons licenses. The guide has been published as a part of the national coordination of open science and its expert group on open education. The guide has been made by Aino Helariutta (Laurea) and Terhi Kaipainen (Xamk).

Open access price information and service for monitoring prices

Transparency in open access publishing prices is a key part of major research funders’ Plan S, and a new service, the Journal Comparison Service, is coming to review and compare pricing data for publishing services. The service will be built during 2022 by the same company that created the Journal Checker Tool for checking the Plan S compatibility of journals. In June 2021, Walt Crawford published his latest compilation of the open access (gold OA) prices. A domestic view for open access prices is provided in the final report of the national APC (article processing charges) project, Kirjoittajamaksut ja niiden seuranta, published in the spring. And if you are interested in a background on current pricing policy, Bo-Christer Björk’s research article, Why Is Access to the Scholarly Journal Literature So Expensive? offers an interesting analysis of the underlying factors of pricing in academic publishing.

University librarian Kimmo Tuominen and director of Finnish Museum of Natural History Aino Juslén handed out the Open Science Award to Krister Lindén of the Language Bank. Photo: Jussi Männistö

Open science awards for data openers and policy developers

The University of Helsinki Open Science Award 2021 was granted to two nominees, who both represent long-term work in enabling and promoting the use of valuable research data. The award was given to the Language Bank of Finland (Donate Speech data) and to research coordinator Kati Lassila-Perini for her work in utilising the open data of particle physics in research and education. Open science and research (OScAR) granted its National Award for Open Science to Niina Käyhkö, a professor in Applied Digital Geospatial Research (University of Turku), and Leo Lahti, an associate professor in Data Science (University of Turku). The Champions of Open Science award was given to the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies (Tampere University, University of Turku, University of Jyväskylä).

The EOSC Finnish Forum was established

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is a project that aims to build a unified European research infrastructure from separate services. In Finland, the EOSC received a further boost in January, when the Ministry of Education and Culture, Academy of Finland, the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies and CSC – IT Center for Science established the EOSC Finnish Forum (EOSC-FF), a national network and an information channel for EOSC’s domestic stakeholders. A report on the implementation of EOSC coordination to date in various European countries, EOSC National Structures, was published in the autumn 2021.

  • Further reading: An article by Jean-Claude Burgelman (Free University of Brussels) describing the emergence of the EOSC as one of the European Commission’s key open science projects.

New book: Open Science – the Very Idea

Frank Miedema, a professor of open science at Utrecht University, has written a book on open science with succinct title: Open Science – the Very Idea. Miedema deals with open science in terms of both science and social impact, and the perspective extends to the philosophy and history of science as well as sociology. The book, published by Springer, is openly available online. Frank Miedema was a speaker at the Open Science Autumn Conference 2021 in November, and his presentation can be found on the event’s website.

Advances in open science in Europe – reports

In 2021, a number of European open science monitoring reports have been published. A report on open science policies in Europe was published in spring: An Analysis of Open Science Policies in Europe. European research universities’ (LERU) report, Implementing Open Science, looks at the implementation of open science in universities through eight pillars defined by the European Commission: FAIR data, European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), research integrity, new generation metrics, future of scholarly communication, citizen science, education & skills, and rewards. From principles to practices, a survey published by the European University Association (EUA), examines the development of open science in European universities. The results of the survey will be further elaborated in thematic reviews, two of which have been published: reviews on research publications and research evaluation – a review on research data will be published in 2022. During 2021, the EUA also published an open access checklist for universities.