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The research landscape is complex, and different actors have different options to help with a systemic move towards open science.

Policy makers

  • make policies
  • assess compliance with their policies
  • perform research on the need for or impact of policies
  • assess research performed by others
  • do many other things

In this thread, I would like us to explore which options policy makers have to explore open science themselves and to encourage it in the communities and other stakeholders they interact with.

If you have multiple ideas for concrete actions, I suggest to post them as separate answers (rather than as one monolithic answer), so as to facilitate the discussion and refinement of your ideas.

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Open up policy-making workflows:

  • release drafts of policies and allow the community to comment on them, way before the actual enactment
  • have visible channels for public feedback on existing policies (or the lack thereof)
  • consider making the entire drafting process public
  • when assessing research or compliance, use open protocols and tools, and consider opening up the remaining parts
  • when doing research, share early and often
  • use open licenses by default when putting things out on the Web, including for policies themselves


A good example here is the process used by the White House for allowing public feedback on an Open Source Software policy for the U.S. federal government. Not only was the draft public, but there were multiple channels for providing feedback, including

  1. Content suggestions and discussions are welcome via GitHub “issues.” Each issue is a conversation initiated by a member of the public. We encourage you to browse and participate in discussions on existing issues, or start a new conversation by opening a new issue.

  2. Direct changes and line edits to the content are welcome through “pull requests” by clicking “Edit this page” (if prompted, follow the instructions to “Fork this repository and propose changes”). You do not need to install any software to suggest a change. You can use GitHub’s in-browser editor to edit files and submit a pull request for your changes to be merged into the document. Directions on how to submit a pull request can be found here. Pull requests that have already been submitted for the proposed guidance can be found here.

Finally, feedback received through all three channels (the third was non-public) was posted in public.

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