Eight month – 20 fellows and projects – 20 different interpretations of openness.
As team member and contributor of the O2C2 book project, I participated in the closing event hosted by Wikimedia Deutschland. After two days of lively discussions in formal and informal settings, I can pin down some key impressions:
When 20 young scientists come together and try to integrate open science practices in their daily work, the outcomes differ significantly. Everyone agrees: openness is the answer. Yet the question that individual scientists ask beforehand has many faces. Open science is not (only) a fixed definition linked with concrete recommendations for actions. Much rather, open science in practice varies substantially and along at least two dimensions: form and motivation.
The form of openness (e.g. open data, open collaboration, open access) varies depending on the research field and topic, established scientific practices, as well as related social and legal barriers. The differing degrees of openness implemented by the young scientists show: unlimited openness is not possible, but each scientist needs to learn about the forms of openness and closeness that fit best with and augment her own research practice.
Not only interpretations and implementations of openness differ among the fellows, it is also the motivation for openness: is open science an ideology or simply a pragmatic, self-interested, more efficient approach to overcome many problems scientists face in their daily work? From my perspective the last two days in Berlin have emphasized the need for unpacking the abstract concept of openness in practice. So far, concepts and theories behind phenomena of openness remain rather unclear. Our book aims for providing clarity and perspectives how openness can be conceptualized, defined, and lived in practice.
Although the fellow program finished, the O2C2 project is still in its infancy. However, the first steps are made and the first chapter of our book was published three weeks ago. Feel free to contribute – the door is open!