From principles to practices: Open Science at Europe’s universities
2020-2021 EUA Open Science Survey results
Rita Morais, Bregt Saenen, Federica Garbuglia, Stephane Berghmans and Vinciane Gaillard
This report presents the outcomes of the 2020-2021 EUA Open Science Survey and provides evidencebased recommendations for institutions, researchers, research funders and policymakers on the transition towards Open Science.
The 2020-2021 EUA Open Science Survey focused on the level of development of Open Science in Europe‘s universities, addressing the role of Open Science in institutions’ strategic priorities and its implementation in institutional practices. In addition, the survey transversally addressed both the established (Open Access, research data) and emerging (e.g. citizen science, open education) fields of Open Science.
This survey was open to all interested European higher academic institutions from October 2020 until January 2021, having gathered a total of 272 valid responses from institutions in 36 European countries. Most of the sample are comprehensive institutions (64%), followed by specialist (e.g. medical sciences, music, art schools) and technical universities, which both represent 13% of the sample. The full anonymised dataset of the survey is available in the Open Access repository Zenodo.
- Open Science principles: over half (59%) of the surveyed institutions rated Open Science’s strategic importance as very high or high. Open Access to research publications was considered to be highly important for 90% of institutions, but only 60% considered its implementation level to be high. However, the gap between importance and implementation is much wider in data-related areas (RDM, FAIR and data sharing): high importance at between 55-70% of the institutions surveyed, with high levels of implementation at 15-25%.
- Open Science policies: 54% of institutions have an Open Science policy and 37% are developing one. Only 9% of surveyed institutions lack an Open Science policy or are not planning to draft one.
- Monitoring Open Access to research publications: 80% of institutions monitored the number of publications in their repository and 70% monitored articles published by their researchers in Open Access journals. In addition, almost 60% reported monitoring the cost of publications by their researchers in Open Access journals.
- Infrastructure for Open Access to research publications: 90% of the institutions surveyed have their own repository, participate in a shared repository or both. For journal hosting or publishing platforms this figure reaches 66%, and levels out at 57% for monograph hosting/publishing. In addition, 66% of those surveyed reported that their institution has participated in or supported non-commercial Open Access publishing.
- Data-related skills: over 50% of the surveyed institutions reported that research data skills were only partially available. Moreover, all of the institutions that indicated the absence or partial availability of data skills, considered that more of these skills are needed at institutional level.
- Emerging areas of Open Science: Approximately 50% of the respondents know of citizen science and open education activities at their institutions.
- Open Science in academic assessment: In 34% of institutions, none of the Open Science elements examined by the survey were included in academic assessments. Amongst the institutions that included Open Science activities in their academic assessments, 77% took into consideration article deposition in a repository.
The following recommendations are proposed:
- Create the conditions to mainstream Open Science. If Open Science is to become the standard way of producing and sharing scientific knowledge, the continued involvement of all stakeholders is crucial. The active involvement of institutional leaders, in addition to national and European guidelines and regulatory frameworks, is also instrumental to creating a favourable context for the transition to Open Science.
- Continue to invest in embedding Open Science in institutional policies and practices. Institutions should continue to develop internal Open Science policies that are aligned with national and European policies (whenever possible). They need to continue to create incentives and opportunities for researchers and staff to increase their involvement in both established (e.g. Open Access to research publications, RDM and FAIR data) and emerging areas of Open Science (e.g. citizen science, open education). Institutions should also expand training in the key skills needed for the transition towards Open Science (e.g. data skills) for researchers and staff.
- Fully integrate Open Science in reward and incentive practices. For Open Science to become the norm, it must become an integral part of academic assessments. Research funders and institutions play a key role in making this transition possible, by increasingly incorporating Open Science contributions in assessment and restructuring current award and recognition systems.