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The Future of Open Science and How to Stop it


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Presentation at the Open Science panel at the launch of Steps Latina America. The talk attempts to situate the rational and objectives of the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network within the broader landscape of discourse on "openness". While recognizing the potential benefits of openness, it is important to keep in mind the existing structural inequality in global scientific knowledge production and circulation and reflect on the needs to challenge this power asymmetry as a starting point for further understanding on how open science may contribute to development challenges.

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The Future of Open Science and How to Stop it

  1. 1. The Future of “Open Science”, and how to Stop it Leslie Chan @lesliekwchan Centre for Critical Development Studies University of Toronto Scarborough @ocsdnet
  2. 2. = future-of-open-and-how-to-stop-it/
  3. 3. “openness is in danger of becoming its own enemy as it becomes an orthodoxy difficult to question.” Steve Song (2015) open-and-how-to-stop-it/
  4. 4.
  5. 5. Liu and Li CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 109, No. 7, 10 Oct, 2015. an annual rate of 22.4%, accounting for 13.6% of the total SCIE publications.
  6. 6. If open access is progressing so well, why are the same old established powers flourishing more than ever before? Why are the dominant commercial publishers still making record profits, and gaining increasing share of the total scholarly outputs? And why are they still serving as the primary arbiter of scientific legitimacy and academic reputation?
  7. 7. “Commercial publishers now play a role in publishing over 60 percent of all peer–reviewed journals, owning 45 percent outright and publishing another 17 percent on behalf of non–profit organizations.” Raym Crow, 2006
  8. 8. Fig 4. Percentage of papers published by the five major publishers, by discipline of Social Sciences and Humanities, 1973–2013. Larivière V, Haustein S, Mongeon P (2015) The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0127502. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127502
  9. 9. At the core of “openness” is really about the transformative power of the Internet and how best to harness it, by whom, and for what end.
  10. 10. Two competing ideologies Public interest science vs private sector science
  11. 11. Science as a public goods, to serve humanities and to improve people’s lives Science as a source of raw materials to be exploited for economic gains
  12. 12. Openness has not disrupted the current power structure because it has been subsumed by the dominant market ideology
  13. 13. “…data is the new oil for the digital age. How many other ways could stimulate a market worth 70 billion euros a year, without spending big budgets? Not many, I'd say.” Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda
  14. 14. The two ideologies lead to different outcomes Knowledge Commons for all humanity Open “oil field” for extraction
  15. 15. And they call for different forms of governance, institutions, and sustainability models
  16. 16. Winning Horizon 2020 with Open Science WHY Open Science in Horizon 2020? Open Science (OS) offers researchers tools and workflows for transparency, reproducibility, dissemination and transfer of new knowledge. Ultimately, this can also have an impact on in research evaluation exercises, e.g. Research Excellence Framework (REF), set to demand greater “societal impact” in future, rather than just research output[1]. OS can also be an effective tool for research managers to transfer knowledge to society, and optimize the use and re-use by unforeseen collaborators. For funders, OS offers a better return on investment (ROI) for public funding, and underpins the EU Digital Agenda by measurably contributing to economic growth.
  17. 17. Jeroen Bosman & Bianca Kramer Utrecht University Library 101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Traditional workflow
  20. 20. Open Science workflow
  21. 21. Where are the actors in all these? How do we map the “qualities” of openness: inclusiveness, diversity of voices, receptiveness, accountability, intention, choices, and TRUST
  22. 22. “’s financial rationale rests on exploiting the data flows generated by the academics who use the platform. The open access movement is in danger of being outflanked, if not rendered irrelevant by centralised entities like who can capture, analyse and exploit extremely large amounts of data.” Gary Hall (2015) mean-open-access-is-becoming-irrelevant/
  23. 23. But the exploitation of data by knowledge traders is not new. What’s new is the scale and pervasiveness. Surveillance tools are proliferating in the forms of metrics, “likes”, “mentions” and algorithms.
  24. 24. Figure 1. Unequal contribution and participation in science. Chan L, Kirsop B, Arunachalam S (2011) Towards Open and Equitable Access to Research and Knowledge for Development. PLoS Med 8(3): e1001016. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001016
  25. 25. Centre Could Open Science change the current power structure of global scientific production and dissemination? Periphery Periphery Could open science creates the potential for new spaces for collaboration and co- creation of knowledge
  26. 26. Openness as a means to development What is the nature of “openness” and its linkage to innovations for public goods and how can this understanding help formulate and support enabling policies?
  27. 27. A proposition that open models and peer-based production, enabled by pervasive network technologies, non-market based incentive structures and alternative licensing regimes, could result in greater participation, access and collaboration across different social and economic sectors.
  28. 28. Meanings of Openness • Free of cost barriers • Free of permission barriers • Free to share and re-use • Rights to Research, meaning the rights to participate in knowledge production and meaning making • Inclusive Participation (beyond expertise) • Equitable Collaboration • Promote Cognitive justice
  29. 29. “The right to science envisages the scientific and technological endeavor as a process that every person is entitled to participate in— a collective and collaborative process that can help to unite a frequently fragmented world.” Lea Shaver, The Right to Science and Culture. 2010 WISC. L. REV. 121 (2010)
  30. 30. Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network Funding: Coordination @ocsdnet
  31. 31. This call for: • Diverse empirical research on “openness” across disciplinary boundaries • Development of rich conceptual frameworks that acknowledge the diversity of knowledge production, forms of representations, and legitimation • Understanding principles of technical and social interoperability and the supporting institutional structures • Rethinking on funding support and incentive structures • Policy Alignment between funders and development organizations
  32. 32. Open Science as Inclusive Science • Could OCS thinking and practices lead to a more inclusive view of knowledge production and legitimation? • What kind of tools, standards, infrastructure, institutions and policies would need to be created or adapted to enable OCS and equal participation of researchers from marginalized regions?
  33. 33. Open Science Doing Science Openly & Collaboratively Open Data Open Access Overarching Framework: Governance and Sustainability ? Practice Principles Policy Knowledge as a Public Good Different ways of knowing: Cognitive inclusion Inclusion Innovation Funding Infrastructure Intellectual Property Incentive Rights to Research for Social Justice