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I understand that open science is based on open data, open access, open source, open methodology, etc.

However, what does "open" exactly mean in context when we talk about "open science"?

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1 Answer

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The  most basic answer would be that Open is defined in the Open Definition:

“Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose (subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness).”

From: http://opendefinition.org/


As to what is made open I like to differentiate between open to participation, having open research objects and opening up to be understood and used. That idea in the open taxonomy we created and that be helpful here: 

Open Knowledge and within that Open Science, consists of:

  1. Open Science, that is:
    1. Open to participation, by:
      • Being inclusive, meaning
        • No barriers based on race, gender, income, status
      • Being open to public participation, in the form of
        • Involvement of societal partners in research priority setting
        • Evaluations that include societal relevance
        • Citizen science
    2. Open to use, check, modify, re-use and redistribute, by offering:
      • Open Access, for people and machines, to:
        • Proposals and applications
        • Data
        • Code
        • Early versions, preprints, working papers
        • Papers and books
        • Reviews and comments
        • Posters and presentations
      • Open, non-proprietary standards
      • Open licences
      • Full documentation of process
    3. Open to the world, so offering:
      • Translations
      • Plain language explanations
      • Outreach beyond academia
      • Open to questions from outside academia
      • Curation and annotation of non-scholarly information
      • Actionable formats
      • Participation in public debate
  2. Open educational resources
  3. Open source software
  4. Open hardware

From: https://im2punt0.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/defining-open-science-definitions/


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I am not so sure if too much participation by non-experts or laymen, even more so when talking about research priority settings, really is a good idea. In particular concerning fundamental (physics or generally fundamental) science questions, the average Joe from the street possesses often neither enough knowledge nor the true interest to be entitled to decide about future research questions and directions ...

In fact, for fundamental physics the involvement of people who have no sufficient technical understanding but a personal agenda and negative personal opinion about certain research fields have been able cause some non-trivial overall damage which can be measured by from a scientific point of view not justified losses of funding, positions, etc ...
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Yet we have to try. We are faced with a serious crisis of confidence in scientific research and I do not think that retreating into the ivory tower is the right answer. I believe that participation is the only way to improve the situation. Does that present a number of challenges to researchers and research itself? Sure - but we should try to come up with answers to these challenges instead of finding ever new ways on why we cannot even attempt the inclusion of the public.

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