Open Science

Open Science is based on the principle of openness and transparency in the whole research cycle, fostering sharing and collaboration as early as possible. Open and transparent practices accelerate the research process at an unprecedented speed and they reinforce core academic values, such as research integrity, cooperation and knowledge sharing. Open Science is also key to increasing public trust in science and as a means to spark interest and foster the public’s participation in research activities.

EUA has been actively supporting universities in the transition to Open Science for more than a decade and has an Expert Group on Science 2.0/Open Science that closely follows developments in this area. The Association takes a comprehensive view of the transition to Open Science by gathering information on the current situation in Europe and building a forward-looking dialogue between universities and other main stakeholders.

The Association’s four key priorities include:

 - promoting Open Access policies for research publications and data;

- achieving more transparency and greater sustainability in the scholarly publishing system;

- contributing to the development and implementation of research data management, data sharing and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC);

- and raising awareness and supporting universities in reviewing their approach to academic career assessment.

EUA consults regularly with its member universities to identify emerging trends and developments in the transition to Open Science. Recently these have included citizen science and open education.

The transition to Open Science entails encompassing systemic, cultural and technical reforms. EUA is fully committed to Open Science as a shared responsibility, recognising that a successful transition will require a concerted effort from key stakeholders. The Association’s focus on Open Science is also seen in its extensive efforts in providing input to the EU’s research and innovation programmes.

Finally, EUA is committed to a global approach as the way forward for a sustainable transition to Open Science. The Association has joined the UNESCO Global Open Science Partnership, with the purpose of working towards a global consensus on the transition to Open Science.

  • Open Access

    The publication of research outcomes in digital formats provides researchers and other stakeholders in research and innovation with enhanced opportunities to increase the visibility of, and widen access to, research articles, research data and other research outputs. Open Access is critical in the transition to an open and transparent research system. In the last few years, Open Access has gained momentum through both bottom-up activities from the academic community, as well as top-down initiatives from research funders, governments and the European Commission.

    EUA has become a leading voice in the debate on Open Access and has been actively engaged in this area since 2007. EUA advocates for full and immediate Open Access and supports universities and authors in retaining their rights and being able to openly share their research outputs without restrictions. Besides the benefits coming from open access to publications, sharing of data, software and code also improve research reproducibility, replicability and the re-use of research outcomes.

    EUA has monitored the implementation of Open Access policies in European universities since 2014. Since then, more than 500 universities have contributed with their experience, showing the rapid adoption of Open Access policies at the institutional level. However, much is still to be accomplished and EUA will continue to support European universities in improving researchers’ engagement in Open Access and in highlighting the importance of implementing monitoring mechanisms of Open Access.

    EUA monitors and is actively engaged with national and European developments impacting the transition towards Open Access. The Association advocates for ambitious Open Access policies, for instance through Horizon Europe, the FAIR data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable), the creation of the EOSC, as well as Plan S. The Association continues to monitor policy and legal developments in Open Access relevant to the university sector, with a view to foster openness in research, education and innovation.

  • Scholarly Publishing

    Large contract negotiations between universities and scientific publishers have received greater attention from the academic community, governments and from the general public, as the movement towards Open Science and Open Access accelerates. The substantial amount of public funds involved in these contracts, and the need for greater transparency and equity in the scholarly publishing system, have led universities, research funders and governments to push for more transparent and fair-priced contracts. In addition, universities are also turning their attention to other publishing venues, such as non-commercial publishing platforms, in an effort to expand bibliodiversity and to create a more diversified and fairer scholarly publishing system.

    EUA works to achieve more transparency and greater sustainability in the scholarly publishing system together with its members. The Association monitors the evolution of negotiation mechanisms between universities and publishers and how these affect the content and financial conditions given to academic institutions.

    Since 2017, EUA has assembled comprehensive data on Big Deals between scholarly publishers and national consortia of libraries, universities and research organisations. The EUA Big Deals Survey contributes to increasing the transparency of contract costs and conditions, identifying the main challenges in the scholarly publication system and supporting a variety of institutions in becoming more knowledgeable and actively engaged in negotiations with scientific publishers.

    EUA has also started looking into new types of contracts between publishers and consortia, namely through the Read & Publish study. EUA will continue to explore new, diverse and community-driven scholarly publishing models.

  • Research data and EOSC

    As the nature of research is increasingly data intensive, widespread data sharing and re-use are critical to develop a more open and interconnected research system. This should be underpinned by the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data principles and supported through the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). 

    EUA has long advocated for the importance of sharing and re-using research data.  Universities and researchers across Europe are increasingly expected to manage research data according to the FAIR principles, most notably through Horizon Europe. Universities are also actively developing the necessary services, policies, governance frameworks and skills for professional research data management.

    EUA is a core partner of the FAIRsFAIR project, funded through Horizon 2020, which develops recommendations and guidance documents on how to build and sustain FAIR research data management policies and services within research performing organisations.

    EUA is also actively engaged in the EOSC, a European Partnership aiming to federate services for sharing, storage, management, analysis and re-use of research outputs. EUA co-chaired the EOSC Working Group on Skills & Training. The resulting report paves the way for a comprehensive skills and education strategy to support the actors of a strong EOSC research data ecosystem. EUA is also an observer of the EOSC Association.

  • Academic career assessment

    The European higher education, research and innovation landscape is changing. A broad range of academic activities are gaining more prominence, including Open Access, digital learning and teaching, and new forms of knowledge exchange with society. Universities are rethinking how to incentivise and reward these and other activities as part of their approach to career assessment. Reviewing academic career assessment practices to make them more accurate, transparent and responsible is an essential element of the transition to Open Science. 

    EUA raises awareness and supports universities to incentivise and reward a broad range of academic activities using responsible evaluation practices. EUA is a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and has expressed its support for similar principles and guidelines created by the research community.

    The Association advocates for more accurate, transparent and responsible assessment practices. EUA builds and sustains a dialogue between universities and with other actors, by organising workshops, webinars and other opportunities for exchange. It works together with universities, other research performing organisations, research funding organisations, learned societies and policy makers, as the Association believes that improving academic career assessment is a shared responsibility and requires a comprehensive approach uniting diverse stakeholders.


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