OECD Science and Technology Policy Ministerial

Plenary session 4: International actions for global challenges: making open science a reality.

Apr 24, 2024 | 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM



In room CC15.

International action for global challenges: making Open Science a reality
Main issues

‘Open Science’ combines principles and practices to make scientific knowledge openly available, accessible, and reusable for everyone. Many benefits can stem from such openness, including greater efficiency in science, increased knowledge spillovers, higher social returns on public investments in science, and more innovation across firms, civil society, and government. To achieve these benefits, which will also support the transition to a greener economy, Open Science needs to be adopted globally in a way that is trusted, inclusive and equitable. The OECD, along with other international organizations such as the European Commission (EC) and UNESCO, has led the shaping of policy for Open Science. Many countries have made significant efforts to promote Open Science, and several are developing monitoring systems to track the openness of scientific information, data, and software. Some organisations are also exploring how the engagement of different societal actors with science can be measured. A global consensus exists on fundamental principles. An illustration of progress is the fact that half of the articles published in 2020 were in some type of open access format, up from 24% of those published in the period 2002-2011. 

Challenges still exist in advancing Open Science. For example:
  • Trust and reciprocity in scientific collaboration is under increasing scrutiny in the aftermath of COVID and because of heightened geopolitical tensions. Concerns exist in some countries that sharing scientific knowledge might erode competitive advantages or pose security risks, especially with respect to dual-use research. 
  • A large share of published research is still only available to readers via subscription or payment of fees. And many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face difficulties accessing publications and data necessary to their internal R&D. 
  • The benefits of Open Science are not automatically shared evenly. Depending on the business model, open access to publications may entail significant charges for would-be authors, with disadvantages for less-resourced individuals, institutions, and countries. 
  • The ease of on-line publishing has led to growth in predatory publications that have no quality controls.
  • While all public sector researchers have an interest in sharing published research articles, the same is not true for research data sets. In addition, data cleaning and curation is time-consuming and rarely acknowledged in evaluations or grant allocation procedures. The sustainable management of open software can be even more challenging.
  • Most evaluations of universities and researchers are based almost entirely on teaching and bibliometric indicators, with little value given to making data (and software) Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR). 
  • There are legitimate reasons why some sensitive or legally protected scientific information, tools and data should not be made fully open. Policy makers therefore face a challenge in finding the right balance between the free flow of scientific knowledge and other considerations. 
  • Monitoring frameworks for implementation of the different aspects of Open Science need to be agreed and adopted universally.  

Key resources

STIP Compass

Open Science Portal

An Open Science Portal is a platform that unites sectoral and STI policy communities to offer insights into countries' STI policies aimed at promoting open science. This portal facilitates the sharing of scientific research and data openly and transparently to enhance collaboration and accessibility.