Is open science critical for responsible innovation?

November 29th, 2021

We joined Charles Sturt University's podcast to explore questions on open science, open access and open data.

Over recent years, there has been a steady push, globally, toward “open science”. Open science is often thought of as an umbrella term that encompasses more specific movements like “open access”.

Much of the open access movement stems from efforts to make academic research more transparent, inclusive and robust. It is also hoped that such efforts will improve the circulation of knowledge in society and foster innovation.

Dr Simon Wakeling at the School of Information and Communication Studies at Charles Sturt University breaks down the concept of open access publishing as “[making] the outputs of scholarly research… available to anyone who wants to read them and not hidden behind publisher paywalls.”

Open science in context

It’s important to note that open access is just one aspect of open science, existing alongside other efforts like “open data” – making datasets and code used for academic research freely available to invite inspection, audit and interrogation.

But some academics question whether open science is critical for driving socially responsible science outcomes.

Previously published research from the Responsible Innovation FSP has examined how Australian researchers and professionals view open science. The study, involving a cohort of 171 survey participants, revealed a breadth of beliefs and perspectives. While many participants were familiar with open access, some identified a more expansive potential for open science, realised through the inclusion of different forms of knowledge and participation in research. This prompted considerations around where transparency and openness could be achieved through the research lifecycle, such as through engagement and outreach, or disclosure of funding sources.

We contributed our thoughts

This year, to celebrate open access week (25-31 October), Dr Wakeling hosted an episode of Charles Sturt University’s SICS Radio to explore questions such as what is open science? What are the advantages of adopting open science practices for both researchers and broader society? And what are the challenges or barriers to its adoption?

To explore those questions, Dr Wakeling was joined by Dr Justine Lacey from CSIRO’s Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform, Dr Jason Chin from The University of Sydney, and Dr Matthew Ling from Deakin University.

Listen in

Listen to the interview with Dr Justine Lacey at the SICS Radio podcast.