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Professor Sabina Leonelli

Major new project will support global implementation of open science

A major new research project will support open science implementation around the world.

The open science movement – where experts share information to help facilitate scientific discovery and help researchers to replicate findings - is transforming research. It has led to policies adopted around the globe to increase openness, transparency and reproducibility.

Experts will now develop a philosophy of this movement for the first time. This will help to showcase the diversity of research environments around the world, and set out how researchers can use open science to promote good practice.  

The study, which will last for five years, is funded by the European Research Council and led by Professor Sabina Leonelli from the University of Exeter.

The work will lead to a clearer vision for what constitutes good open science and under what conditions it can be achieved, while also taking into account existing disparities in approaches, resources and perceptions of the significance of scientific work. This will help to facilitate fruitful exchanges across different types of research environments

Having a clearer philosophy and standards will help to address current concerns about how open science can operate between scientists working with vastly different resources, and will show how exchanges of information between scientists can boost research excellence.

Professor Leonelli said: “I am delighted that the European Research Council gave me this chance to investigate how the open science movement can support scientists working in very different environments. We will explore the inequities affecting research around the world and facilitate transnational collaboration that acknowledges the value of diverse methods and perspectives. The project will focus on plant and agricultural research contributing to tackle two key challenges for post-COVID times: food security and planetary health.

“The resulting philosophical framework will help to set out the relationship between different research environments, the different ways in which researchers utilize the digital tools and infrastructures that underpin open science, and what constitutes best research practice. It will show the diversity of research environments around the world, and the role of open science in providing reliable knowledge because of this diversity.”

Professor Leonelli and the research team will hold conferences and produce books, training materials and a policy report. They will examine existing scholarship on this issue, as well as observing researchers at work in different environments and countries. They will also work with policymakers who are trying to implement open science. This will help them see what form open science takes in different research environments, and how this relates to research excellence and the diversity of scientific approaches.

Date: 9 December 2020

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