Library Element Report

Evaluation of Research Careers fully acknowledging Open Science Practices - Rewards, incentives and/or recognition for researchers practicing Open Science

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 27 August 2017

Evaluation of Research Careers fully acknowledging Open Science Practices. Rewards, incentives and/or recognition for researchers practicing Open Science. European Commission. Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Open Science and ERA Policy Unit. July 2017

Open Science represents an approach to research that is collaborative, transparent and accessible. There are a wide range of activities that come under the umbrella of Open Science that include open access publishing, open data, open peer review and open research. It also includes citizen science, or more broadly, stakeholder engagement, where non specialists engage directly in research. Open Science goes hand in hand with research integrity and requires legal and ethical awareness on the part of researchers. A driver for Open Science is improving the transparency and validity of research as well as in regards to public ownership of science, particularly that which is publicly funded.

Researchers across Europe already practise Open Science to some extent through, for example,
open access to their publications. Some already provide open data, engage in open peer review,
and stakeholder engagement or citizen science. Researchers advance in their career through
assessment and this is the key factor to ensure that Open Science becomes mainstream. The
exclusive use of bibliometric parameters as proxies for excellence in assessment by most funding agencies and universities/research organisations does not facilitate Open Science. Researchers’ engagement in Open Science will increase through encouragement and incentives from employers and funders through assessment.

Open Science offers researchers the means for greater transparency, reproducibility, dissemination and transfer of new knowledge. OS provides greater access to data and publications which can improve the effectiveness and increased productivity of researchers (allowing more research from the same data). In an open environment there can be a more accurate verification of research results. These are examples of good reasons for researchers to practise OS. 

In order to increase the practice of Open Science, it is critical that researchers, who are the key
agents of change towards OS, are encouraged and incentivised. If OS practices (particularly open access, open data and stakeholder/citizen engagement) are to become mainstream then,

  • Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) should be strongly encouraged to include OS practices in the evaluation of performance and of career development,
  • Research Funding Organisations (RFOs), at regional, national, EU and international level, should be strongly encouraged to include OS practices in the evaluation criteria for funding proposals and as part of the assessment of the researchers.

The Open Science Working Group on Rewards/Recognition was created with the mandate
(approved by the Open Science Policy Platform) to make recommendations in order that all
researchers in Europe are recognised and rewarded for practising Open Science.

The following tasks were taken on:

  • Promote a discussion with stakeholders on the current reputation system in the context of the standing ERAC groups and the Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP) which will work on the concretisation of a European Open Science Agenda;
  • Within the OS environment, reflect about and propose alternative methods to recognise contributions to OS, including 'rewards and incentives' taking into account diversity in experience and career paths, while guaranteeing fair and equal career development of individual scientists;
  • Propose new ways/standards of evaluating research proposals and research outcomes taking into consideration all OS activities of researchers, possibly recommending to pilot them under certain calls of Horizon 2020;
  • Identify existing good practices on how OS issues are already taken up by researchers, research performing institutions and research funding institutions in Europe.

The results of the OS Rewards WG are practical recommendations that can be adopted by policy makers, funders, employers and researchers to promote the practice of Open Science. Funding agencies and research performing organisations must work in tandem to ensure that researchers are recognised and rewarded for practising Open Science. The report focuses on recommendations at policy and practical level to promote the engagement of researchers in Open Science. It provides a clear plan for incentivising and encouraging researchers to practise Open Science through recognition and rewards for recruitment, career progression and funding grants.



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