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UNESCO global consultation: France’s proposal regarding open science

News from committee
03/08/2020

UNESCO has launched a global consultation aimed at formulating a single Recommendation on Open Science and establish standards which will be recognized worldwide and can guide legal and policy frameworks at institutional and state levels. The French contribution stresses the need for a plurality of modalities for the openness and accessibility of science to avoid restricting ideas or recommendations on the subject which could in turn hinder opening knowledge.

The first part of the French proposal presents the positions adopted by France regarding open science and the country’s initiatives in favour of this, particularly citing:

  • the adoption of the 2016 Digital Republic Law which enables researchers who receive mainly public funds to disseminate the scientific articles they published in open access. It also introduced the principle of openness as the default policy coupled with the reusability of public administrations’ data including those resulting from public research;
  • the 2018 National Plan for Open Science which is based on three main axes: generalizing open access to publications, structuring and opening up research data and being an integral part of a lasting European and international dynamic.

Open science policies must dovetail with the issue of the dialogue between science and society. This involves sharing information with citizens prior to the production of knowledge to create a participatory form of science and sharing scientific, technical and industrial culture subsequent to knowledge production.

The second part of the French contribution reiterates open science’s systemic dimension and the need to take the diversity of disciplinary communities into account. It lists eight key issues which could help guide UNESCO’s eventual recommendation:

  1. Supporting bibliodiversity by ensuring that open access does not further reinforce the historical trend of a concentration of actors in scientific publishing and by defending a plurality of scientific publishing funding models;
  2. Democratizing knowledge and supporting participatory science;
  3. Encouraging and promoting multilingualism in scientific production by carrying out operationally oriented research into translation processes, techniques and tools;
  4. Strengthening open science infrastructures and making them sustainable in the long term;
  5. Promoting the FAIR principles for research data management while taking the legal and ethical frameworks for specific scientific disciplines fully into account with particular regard to the openness and reuse of data;
  6. Promoting full recognition of all researchers’ intellectual contributions and intellectual property rights which are compatible with openness;
  7. Redefining research evaluation modalities to enhance open science practices;
  8. Working on the design of the right tools to observe actual, effective open science practices and thus support the steering of public policies which also need to be adapted to respond to the requirements of different disciplinary communities.

The contribution provides a summary in conclusion including the issues which need to be taken into account when developing a policy aimed at making research results accessible to all.