Jennifer Edmond is one of DARIAH’s three directors. She works for Trinity College Dublin, where she is the Co-Director of the Centre for Digital Humanities. Since March 2016 she also represents DARIAH in the European Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP). As a member of this platform Jennifer supports the European Commission in developing an Open Science Policy.
Jennifer, around 18 month ago we talked about the Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP) for the first time. Back then you were a newly established member of the Platform. For those of us who don’t remember the details of this earlier interview: What exactly is the OSPP?
The Open Science Policy Platform is a group of representatives of the stakeholders of open science in Europe: researchers, publishers, infrastructure providers, and other intermediaries in the overall system of scientific information sharing. We have been convened by the European Commission to look at the recommendations developed by expert groups covering the many facets of Open Science (from next-generation assessment metrics to research integrity to publishing practices) and develop actions that we feel the various communities can agree to take forward.
Europe is the largest producer of scientific data. However, often this data cannot be exploited to its full extend. Why is that?
I think that if there was only one reason, we would have solved the problem long ago. The fact of the matter is, though, that sometimes we can’t find the data we need, sometimes we don’t know how to make use of it or ask the right questions about it, and sometimes we don’t have the right (or know if we have the right) to reuse it. All of these together create a series of interlocking barriers that the OSPP is trying to untangle.
Applying principles of Open Science (OS) could very well change this situation. As you said in our first interview, “by sharing results and resources early, widely and more fluidly, Europe’s research system can become not only more efficient, but deeper, more insightful”. Looking back at the last 18 months, what kind of progress do you see in this respect?
Certainly we are moving quickly toward having the platforms from which to develop better OS practices. Both the Open Science Cloud and the EU’s own open publishing platform are in the process of being prepared for tender processes. Once we have these basic preconditions in place, then we can start the real work, changing cultures and habits so that there is not longer any perception of a difference between ‘open science,’ and ‘good science’ or indeed just ‘science.’
How did the OSPP contribute to this progress?
The recommendations of the OSPP are one of the primary sources from which the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, is drawing his recommendations for the Competitiveness Council, so we have had a very direct link in influencing the policy development in the areas we have addressed so far, in particular publishing and the Open Science Cloud.
Why is it so important for DARIAH to have a voice in the OSPP?
A lot of what we understand as open science practices have emerged in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects, and sometimes they don’t quite fit with the way research in the humanities is organised and carried out. With DARIAH on the OSPP, it gives the Commission a clear message that we are committed to being a part of the future of science and research in Europe, and gives the DARIAH community a voice in discussions where this future is being shaped.
DARIAH is not only pushing Open Science through participation in platforms like the OSPP. Could you give us some quick insights into other DARIAH activities related to Open Science?
DARIAH’s commitment to Open Science seems to grow by the day! The data reuse charter, which we have been working on with Europeana, CLARIN and other stakeholders will hopefully soon give researchers a clearer mechanism for sharing their research data. The DARIAH Open Science policy statement bridges the gap between the values of our community and those of open science. Most importantly, we have hired an Open Science officer, who will start with us in the coming weeks, and who will push all of these initiatives forward and help us to embed positive attitudes and practices towards Open Science in the humanities.
Let’s think a few years ahead. Where do you see the biggest upcoming challenges in terms of Open Science?
Open Science is a means to an end, and that end is a vision of research that is broadly informed, innovative and applicable to real world problems. This requires not only that we have access to research and data from different disciplines, but also that we know how to ask questions of it, how to use it and apply it. So the real challenge will be to move from opening our practices to opening our minds, and our disciplines. I think DARIAH is uniquely placed to contribute to this agenda, given the broad disciplinary base we serve and the traditions of our scholars.
Thank you very much, Jennifer.
photo: OSPP members; photographer: Carola Radke