Report - How Research Institutions and Libraries can help deliver the European Open Science Cloud

10 Jul 2018

Report - How Research Institutions and Libraries can help deliver the European Open Science Cloud

Survey amongst workshop participants
Audience, approximately 55 participants, so composed:

  • Librarians 30%
  • Data Professionals 23%
  • Infrastructure Providers 13%
  • Repository Managers 12%
  • Researchers 10%
  • Publishers 2%
  • Other 10%

The single largest obstacle for institutions to start rewarding researchers based on Open Science criteria is Senior leadership not convinced about Open Science, followed by Not enough push from funders. With a slightly lower score, the two most rated options were Researchers not convinced about Open Science and Too much administrative burden to change processes.


The biggest driver for institutions to reward researchers based on Open Science criteria for a very high majority is to make research grants available only to researchers committed to Open Science. The second highest ranking driver is the financial threat by government and other funding bodies if they did not do so.


In most institutions the management of Research Information System is spread across different departments. Only in 14% of the cases this is managed by the Library and in 12% by the individual research department.


To monitor performance, institutions collect a variety of information on research outputs and research activities. The ones that score higher (15%-25%) are, in decreasing order:

  • grants/research funding acquired,
  • activities related to academic science communications (invited lectures, conference
  • presentations..),
  • bibliographic data or research publications
  • activities related to popular science communication.

It is worth noting that only 10% of participants felt their institutions collect CRIS (or equivalent formatted) bibliographic data of research publications.



Participants Brainstorming Discussions

After the survey, participants split in four groups (playing the role Managers of research Libraries at institutions, Managers of research departments, Funding bodies and Local, national government agencies), to discuss possible policy interventions related to the following topics:

  • Incentives for researchers,
  • FAIRness of research outputs,
  • data stewardship.

The output of the four groups can be summarised as follows.


Participants in the workshop feel that libraries do not have real power in making policy decisions concerning incentives for researchers, but they can influence institutional Open Science policies in various ways. Thanks to their neutral stance and their intermediary  position between researchers and institutions they can effectively advocate for Open Science policies.


Research data management is changing the relationship between libraries and university administration and researchers. Besides building networks and collaborations within the university to influence RDM policy making, libraries can also influence the implementation of services and infrastructures. Libraries can also support researchers by providing a hub for information, best practice and advice, e. g. on funding opportunities, DMP writing, etc.


Libraries have an important role to play in supporting FAIRness of research outputs. They offer support and training to researchers on FAIR data management and best practice on data infrastructure and services, and can provide case studies showing the higher impact of FAIR and open data for research. They have the capability to translate between funder/university/etc. requirements and researchers’ needs.


Libraries can play a role in data stewardship by proposing services to the institutes and departments/faculties so they can decide how they want data stewardship to be organized.


Research institutions can initiate/support the adoption of incentives that contribute to better, more open data management by promoting DMPs discussions around grant applications, this would help researchers with their grant application.
Institutions should help researchers understand the implications of good Data Management Planning and help them finding trusted solutions to convince them that opening up their data does not mean make it prone to misuse. Building DMPs into the CRIS system would improve the quality of research as well as the institution’s ability to obtain relevant metrics.


Institutions can pursue many initiatives that provide incentives for researchers: they can improve local research standards by sharing DMPs more broadly within the institution and outside, by establishing dedicated data steward positions to help researchers, by making practical guidelines, case studies and support services available, encourage wider collaboration, by advocating Open Science practices especially with senior research leaders, trying to make them champions for younger researchers to follow. They could pilot new rewards for sharing data/making data reusable by other researchers, or point-based mechanisms for career progression.


Institutions can contribute better to the EOSC implementation by integrating the tools and the IT environment research have to operate in, making things easily interoperable, exportable and machine ready.
Better ways of engaging with researchers should be explored, especially to get senior leading researcher aboard and help them embracing novelty. This group reached a similar conclusion as the National Agencies one, that there is a lot of inertia in the system and constant action is required to change the status quo.


Funding bodies have the option to provides incentives that contribute to better, more open data management by researchers. Workshop participants felt that funders should make Research Data Management more prominent in their agenda, and consistently provide
guidelines/requirements that map EU policies, so that all researchers can benefit from a seamless environment regarding RDM.


To contribute to increase the FAIRness of research outputs, funders should include RDMskilled reviewers in funding panels or ensure that reviewers get trained on RDM so that they can appropriately assess grant requests. They should consider providing financial  incentives to open up the data as soon as possible and not only at the end of a project.


National Agencies
The availability of infrastructure is key. Workshop participants felt that funding infrastructure directly would make openness easier and fairer.
National agencies can ensure greatest impact by making sure that only open/FAIR research gets grants.


There is a lot of inertia in the system and vested interests in the status quo. National agencies should promote actions at institutional level both in bottom-up and top-down direction: support early education on the benefits of openness to researchers; implement mechanisms that increase the benefits to the institution. Make information regarding publication openness stats public.
More countries should follow on the establishment of a national co-ordinating role on data stewardship schemes / provide training/ provide information/training resource