Recap of the OSA Info Day Graz
15 January 2024
On the 15th of January, attendees of the Open Science Austria (OSA) Info Day gathered in the historical reading room of the University of Graz Library. At this half-day event, OSA introduced the local research community to the Initiative and emphasized the importance of Open Science. The event also featured a panel discussion with participants from some of the major educational institutes of Graz: the University of Graz, the University of Technology of Graz and the University of Applied Sciences of Graz.
Open Science Austria is an interdisciplinary stakeholder platform of the Austrian University Conference, uniko, that aims to help its members keep track of the diverse, extensive, and rapidly evolving national and international initiatives and strategic papers, as well as prepare them to participate in Open Science.
Both the EOSC Support Office Austria (SOA) and Open Science Austria (OSA) are committed to the Open Science movement and share the vision of making scientific processes more open, effective, and accessible to the Austrian research community. Marthe Bierens, the SOA Secretariat’s TU Graz colleague joined the event.
The event was introduced by Joachim Reidl, Vice-Rector for Research and Promotion of Young Researchers, University of Graz. Reidl stressed the importance of making data as open as possible, but as closed as necessary. This requires a critical and professional attitude from researchers towards research data. He stressed that though this can be challenging, it also offers possibilities to share data among the research communities, engage with citizen science programs, and support policy making.
Caroline Schober, Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs at the Medical University of Graz and Chair of the OSA Steering Board, proceeded by sketching out the importance of Open Science, the role of the OSA initiative and the benefits, opportunities, and risks of Open Science.
As Schober laid out during her presentation, Open Science encompasses an extensive array of aspects, each developing at their own pace, with their own challenges, all while being highly connected. Open Access, Open and FAIR Data, Open Methodology, Open Peer Review, Open Education Resources, Open Source (code and software), Open Government Data, Open Standards (standards and protocols for interoperability), Open Innovation and Citizen Science all have a place under the umbrella of Open Science.
Open Science embodies several benefits. First, it makes science more transparent, as sources and the history of the (meta)data is more visible, hopefully leading to more trust among the public. It also makes science more efficient through worldwide collaboration and exchange. Open Science opens the doors for innovation, through sharing solutions, data and technology, not just within a single research field but also between topics that extend over multiple research fields. Lastly, it makes open participation possible.
The risks that are reflected in Open Science are the dizzying number of resources made available and the operating costs of platforms, databanks and repositories in terms of energy and time spent on the curation and quality assurance of data. Open Data is more vulnerable, which may leads to risks in data security and protection. Without sufficient oversight, Open Data can be misinterpreted or misused. Not to mention, the insufficient recognition of researchers and developers can influence their careers.
This leads us to the task ahead for initiatives like OSA and EOSC SOA: to provide an overview of the extensive field of Open Science, national and international Open Science initiatives, and strategic reports and papers. OSA will be starting several working groups to cover concrete developments and questions from the community.
To highlight the importance of Open Science for the future, Caroline Schober’s presentation was followed by three short presentations of researchers about the role of Open Science in their research.
Hilmar Brohmer, Research Associate, Postdoc, Centre for Society, Knowledge and Communication, University of Graz, told of his journey into Open Science in the context of social psychology in regards to the falsification of data and unreproducible results. He wondered if Open and FAIR science could be the solution. It now has become an intrinsic part of his work, and is actively including the research community of Graz through the initiative GOSI (Graz Open Science Initiative).
Franz Zotter, Assistant Professor for Acoustics and Auditory Engineering, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, introduced the impact of Open Data, Open Source and Open Access on his work. Here permanently archived versions of software codes and access to Open Measured Data improves the reproducibility of his research.
Nick Scholand, Institute of Biomedical Imaging, TU Graz, discussed the different reasons for participating in Open Science on a global, institutional and personal level as a researcher. These include the democratization of access and the enhancement of accountability and research integrity. Institutions have motive to participate in Open Science as it improves documentation and collaboration, simplifies knowledge distribution, and can reduce the impact of personnel fluctuations by making sharing among colleagues through the whole research process more accessible. But most importantly, on a personal level as a researcher, Open Science practices (1) protect him from accusations of research misconduct as Openness and FAIRness are strong indicators for rigor, trustworthiness and transparency, (2) increase paper citation rates, , (3) make it easier to share and modify analyses, figures and work and (4) open review makes the review process faster and more direct on both analytical errors and typos.
The event was closed by a panel discussion moderated by Caroline Schober with Andrea Höglinger, Vice Rector for Research, TU Graz, Ilire Hasani-Mavriqi, Head of Research Data Management, TU Graz and 1st Chair of the EOSC SOA General Assembly, Marton Villanyi, Head of the Library, FH JOANNEUM, and Elisabeth Staudegger, Professor of Legal Informatics and IT Law, Universität Graz. The dialogue encompassed topics like the role of personal motivation in institutes collaborating with its researchers and pushing research in the right direction, the importance of having access to services to make Open Science a workable reality for researchers, the tensions between industry and research, and the legal challenges around Open Publishing and if universities should start their own Open Publishing platforms.
Learn more about the OSA initiative on their website