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Open Science

Open Science Explained

Science | Researchers
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We explore the main aspects of Open Science that have been highlighted in UNESCO Recommendation and how they can benefit you and your research. 

In the past five years, the science community has become more open and transparent in how research information is published. This movement toward Open Science has seen publishers across the world making more research papers and scientific knowledge available to all. In November 2021, UNESCO published its Recommendation on Open Science which provided “an international framework for open science policy and practice…”

Here we explore the main aspects of Open Science that have been highlighted in UNESCO Recommendation and how they can benefit you and your research. 

What is Open Access? 

Open Access means that authors and publishers agree to make scientific materials that are under an open license (e.g., CC-BY) available for everyone to reuse, as long as the original author is cited. Open Access materials can include peer-reviewed or non-peer-reviewed research papers, book chapters, images, and other sources. Though there are a range of different business models of open access, generally speaking, publishers will require an ‘article processing charge’ (APC) from authors to cover the costs of publishing.  However, many research institutes and funders (e.g., through grants) now have budgets to cover APCs.   

All Hindawi journals are published as Gold Open Access. This means that any article in a Hindawi journal can immediately be downloaded, shared, and reused without restriction, provided the original authors are properly cited.  

What is Open Data? 

Open Data means that research data follows the principles of Open Science: data can be accessed and re-used by anyone free of charge, as long as the original author is cited. Research data can be digital or analogue, covering numbers, texts, images, sounds, and software code, among other formats.  

Many publishers have their own guidelines for publishing the underlying data of a paper that is required to verify the research results and make it reproducible. Hindawi has a comprehensive data-sharing policy for authors, including a list of recommended data repositories, guidance for citing data, and data management requirements in different disciplines. 

Many research funders such as CAS and The Wellcome Trust encourage or even mandate open data sharing. In November 2022, CAS updated its data sharing policy to mandate their researchers to deposit all research data of their domestic publications to Science Data Bank

What is Open Peer Review? 

Open Science principles extend beyond research authors. Open Peer Review is a move toward greater transparency in the peer-review process.  

Reviewers may agree to share their identity with the author, and both may agree to publish the reviewer’s names and comments alongside the final paper. Sharing pre-review manuscripts (preprints) for comments from the wider community and allowing further comments after the paper has been published are also encouraged under Open Peer Review.  

This transparency gives readers additional context around the strengths and weaknesses of a paper, and helps reviewers gain better recognition for their work.  

Hindawi acknowledges that Open Peer Review is an important aspect of Open Science and is exploring the benefits of this model to its journals. Hindawi is part of the Publish Your Reviews Initiative led by the non-profit ASAPbio. This means that Hindawi encourages reviewers to publish their review online, if an author has chosen to make their manuscript available as a preprint. 

What are the benefits? 

If you publish in an Open Access journal, you will likely find that your article is more widely read and cited than similar articles behind paywalls. 

Sharing the data behind research papers allows different groups to work together, combining datasets to create a greater pool of information for improved knowledge. It also means that a published study can be more easily verified and replicated if needed. 

Open Access is growing in popularity in research institutions and universities. Many funding programs now require authors to publish their research and data in Open Access formats.  

In conclusion, Open Science is becoming a regular part of many researchers' careers throughout the world. When you follow Open Science principles, you are not simply obeying a funder’s mandate, you are increasing a reader’s faith in your research, contributing to the scientific community, gaining greater recognition and encouraging new collaborations.

This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Illustration adapted from Adobe Stock by David Jury

Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2021, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.