The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing open access forwards

By SalM on October 30, 2020 in COVID-19

This year’s Open Access Week is a very special occasion. 2020 has shown – for all the good and bad reasons during a global pandemic that continues to affect us all – the power of open access. But, while the unprecedented growth of open access papers and preprints has been a crisis mode reaction, it is now time to make open access a permanent feature of the research system.

Twenty years after the Budapest Open Access Initiative, we are at a crucial moment: 2021 has all it needs for open access to become the norm for researchers in Europe.

First and foremost, Horizon Europe will require immediate and irrevocable open access to publications resulting from research projects funded by the programme, alongside a set of other elements mainstreaming ‘open science’. According to the European Commission, costs for hybrid publishing will no longer be eligible and researchers will retain the rights to share their results.

In parallel, the Open Research Europe publishing platform is a prime example of a research funder supporting a publishing ecosystem that is innovative, equitable and open. The European University Association (EUA), as a supporter of sustainable and open scholarly publishing, welcomes these changes in Horizon Europe.

Of course, this does not mean that the work is over. Horizon Europe will have to step up its backing for universities managing this transition and enable them to support all the scientific communities so that they can reach this objective.

Furthermore, the long-awaited and, at times, hotly debated ‘Plan S’ will finally come into action on 1st January 2021. While the plan itself and its conditions have evolved – also due to constructive input from universities and other stakeholders – its core is as relevant as it was at its launch in September 2018.

Open licences, sustainable business models and copyright retention must be ensured. A welcome development has been the more strident work on rights retention to ensure Green Open Access and the growing attention to non-commercial publishing venues – Diamond Open Access – in the quest to create a publishing system that is less dependent on a few commercial publishers and more diverse, community-driven and scholar-led.

Plan S is a crucial piece in a transition to open access driven by stakeholders in the academic community, and we at EUA look forward to continuing our engagement with Coalition S in the coming year.

Career assessment reforms

Likewise, at the core of the transition to open science is a re-thinking of the ways in which we assess researchers and academic careers.

EUA has been at the forefront of discussions on career assessment reforms and will continue this work. Based on this, we, in a partnership with the Declaration on Research Assessment and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition Europe, will soon release materials and case studies that will support and inspire universities to reform their internal assessment mechanisms and requirements.

Going global

Finally, we need to look beyond Europe. Science, scholarly publishing and the means of assessment are issues with global implications. There are understandable and legitimate concerns about Europe moving ahead without due consideration of what it means for others – an often-heard concern is pay-to-publish business models being hurdles for countries with lower incomes or disciplines which are not supported by external funding agencies.

This is why we need a diverse and equitable publishing landscape. EUA supports such a vision of an open and inclusive system for the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which is scheduled to be adopted in late 2021. This UNESCO recommendation, which already appears very promising in its draft version, has the potential to enshrine a global commitment to sustainable open access – and will, it is hoped, make 2021 the year that open access and open science go global.


EU Cohesion policy invests in Poland’s research and innovation network

By SalM on October 27, 2020 in News

The European Commission has approved an investment of over €71 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the establishment of a fibre-optic network and research equipment to improve cooperation among research laboratories in Poland. This project aims to enhance the quality of academic research and to ensure closer cooperation between industry and academia, leading to greater market uptake of research results.

Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira said: “With this investment, cohesion policy will support Poland in becoming more innovative in a competitive global market. As the coronavirus crisis is showing us, cooperation among research centres is crucial to offer innovative solutions in a rapidly changing and challenging world”.

The project involves 21 research partners. Their laboratories will be provided with the equipment according to eight fields of specialisation, from data transmission and storage, atomic clocks and smart cities to e-learning and multi-scale simulation. The project is expected to include the filing of 21 patents, the publication of 84 scientific papers, 342 PhD candidates using the facilities, and the creation of five spin-off companies.

European Researchers’ Night 2020

By SalM on October 27, 2020 in News

Learn how research is fighting cancer, combatting diseases and viruses, stopping global warming, working for sustainable development, contributing to Artificial Intelligence-related findings, and tackling challenges for a better life. Meet researchers and discover the fascinating world of science in a fun and interactive environment – with family or on your own.

The European Researchers’ Night, funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, is a Europe-wide public event that brings researchers closer to the public. The European Researchers’ Night showcases the diversity of science and its impact on citizens’ daily lives, stimulating interest in research careers – particularly among young people. In 2019, it attracted 1.6 million visitors across more than 400 cities in Europe and beyond.

This year, children, young people and families will meet researchers and discover research, science and innovation through hands-on experiments, science shows, games, quizzes, competitions, exhibitions, and digital activities.

The event will take place in 29 countries on Friday 27 November 2020.

In Israel the event will take place on 3 December 2020.

Get involved!

Are you a researcher passionate about science communication and outreach to a broad public? Contact the European Researchers’ Night 2020 taking place near you to see how to get involved.

Follow the event on social media

Visit the following social media sites to stay up to date. Share your thoughts with the twitter hashtags #EuropeanResearchersNight and #MSCANight.

Find more information on the European Researchers’ Night

Table of events

Country Event
Austria Forschung begreifen (Understanding Science and Research)
LifeisScience- Identification of scientific contents in the daily life
Bosnia and Herzegovina European Researchers’ Night in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2020
Belgium Science journey in a world of transition(s)
Bulgaria Find Research Everywhere, SHare and expERience
Researchers in the Knowledge Triangle
Cyprus European Reseachers’ Night – The Night Deal
Czech Republic Czech European Researchers’ Night 2020
Germany Nacht der Wissenschaft in der Kiel Region 2020
Denmark Sense, Science and the Magic of Food
Greece Attractive REsearchers in the Spotlight
Spain Building science among all, the key role of researchers 
Catalan European Researchers’ Night
Macaronesia’s Researchers’ Night
Open Researchers 2020
Wanderlust is the passion for discovering
Finland Tutkijoiden yö
France Little Nocturne Secrets
Georgia Science is the Captain
Hungary Fascinating World of Researchers in the Age of Technology – Mission of Researchers to Expand New Horizons
Ireland Cork Discovers – Discover your changing world
Start Talking About Research Today: European Researchers’ Night at Trinity College Dublin
Israel European Researchers’ Night Israel 2020
Italy BRIGHT-NIGHT – Researchers’ impact in everyday Life
European Researchers’ Night Apulia 2020 – Discovering the fascinating world of research
ScieNcE Together
SHAring Researchers’ Passion for Evolving Responsibilities
Society behind the Horizon
SuperScienceMe – REsearch is your R-Evolution – European Researchers’ Night
Moldova Fostering science and innovation impact through organisation in Moldova of European Researchers’ Night
Montenegro Montenight2020 – Imagine future
Malta Science in the City
Poland Scientists from various fields teach us how to care for the planet on a daily basis
European Researchers’ Night 2020 in Malopolska (Malopolska Researchers’ Night 2020)
Portugal Science and nature
Macaronesia’s Researchers’ Night
Romania Doing Research Midnight in ROmania
Researchers for Humanity 2020
Science promotion in Bistita-Nasaud county (online only)
Serbia Research, Connections, Networks and Culture – Use of Projects, Games, Research And Digital in Education
Science in Motion for Friday Night Commotion 2020
Road to Friday of Science 3.0
Sweden European Researchers’ Night in Sweden 2020: ForskarFredag (Researchers’ Friday) 2020.
Slovenia Humanities Rock! – Humans and Research
Noč ima svojo moč (The Night has its Might), European Researchers’ Night
Slovakia Festival of Science European Researchers Night 2020 in Slovakia
Tunisia Tunisian Researchers’ and Citizens’ Green Deal
United Kingdom European Researchers’ Night Cymru – Making a Difference in Wales
EXPLORATHON 2020 (online only)
Futures 2020

Associated events

Country Event
Spain Mediterranean Researchers’ Night
EnhAncing Resilience Through Humanity



National policies and certification good practices: the CASPER State of the Art analysis is out!

By SalM on October 27, 2020 in News, Women in Research

The CASPER team proudly presents the “State of the Art Analysis: mapping the awarding certification landscape in Higher Education and Research” (D3.3).

This report is the result of the exploration exertion of an organization in excess of 30 worldwide scientists. Such exertion was facilitated, curated, and created by the Smart Venice group with the commitment of Oxford Brookes University and Yellow Window. The exploration spread over across 33 nations (the 27 EU nations in addition to Australia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America) to reveal great practices in accreditation and granting plans for gender correspondence, particularly with regards to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Research associations. Also, the exploration zeroed in on acquiring a diagram of the principal arrangements and measures received at the public level to incorporate gender equity in Research and Higher Education.

The outcome is a reference-rich examination of the scene in which a potential European-level confirmation or grant plot (CAS) for gender uniformity in Research could create. With 114 CAS for gender uniformity and variety which target research associations, private organizations and public organizations inspected in detail, the report gives an effectively traversable assortment of intriguing practices, isolated by the nation of inception, with an uncommon spotlight on cross-public plans.

The report shows that the European one is a great climate for the improvement of a CAS, with a general positive pattern in the reception of CAS for HEIs and Research in the most recent years. In any case, it likewise presents a lopsided scene, where nations have various degrees of usage of gender balance approaches in research and Higher Education along with various needs on the issue. While a general investigation is given in the initial segment of the report, the different degrees of incorporation of gender fairness in the nations’ public strategies and systems are depicted in detail in the report’s Country Sheets. The sheets examine the public settings giving knowledge on the fundamental approaches, structures, and practices which manage the joining of gender fairness in their exploration and Higher Education systems.

The report’s general examination gives an overall point of view on the current confirmations and grants rehearses. Among its discoveries, there is the inclination of CAS zeroing in on HE and Research to utilize self-appraisal as the passage point in the application cycle, regularly with inner gender investigation as an initial step. Such a methodology is by all accounts urged to advance inside change, as this investigation regularly functions as a base for reformist improvement, which is frequently surveyed by outer specialists or companions. Concerning models for granting CAS, the presence of sufficient preparing, enrollment, hostile to provocation, and work-life balance arrangements are the most widely recognized models. An intersectional way to deal with gender uniformity, which is additionally advanced by the most recent European arrangements’ turns of events, is available just in a (anyway applicable) minority of CAS.

Taking everything into account, the State of the Art report is a rich and exhaustive archive that advises the CASPER situations with flow structure information and great practices to take motivation from; it is likewise an animating perused for scientists intrigued by public approaches in regards to gender correspondence in Research and Higher Education; lastly, it is a cutting-edge, enlightening assortment of accessible CAS on gender fairness, variety, and consideration.

Nason, Giulia, and Maria Sangiuliano. 2020. “State of the Art Analysis: Mapping the Awarding Certification Landscape in Higher Education and Research,” June. 


How the EU may support and enable universities’ ongoing transformations

By SalM on October 23, 2020 in News

“Towards a 2030 Vision on the Future of Universities in Europe” study sets out a stakeholder-driven, strategic Vision 2030 for the future of universities in Europe in research and innovation.

Recognising Europe’s diverse university landscape, the study considers the extent to which – and how – universities’ ongoing transformations might best be supported through EU support (e.g. policy changes, funding, legal mechanisms).

The Vision is underpinned by European values, such as respecting institutional autonomy and academic freedom, scientific and research excellence by exploiting universities’ investments in fundamental research, delivery societally-relevant research, maintaining trust, equality of opportunity and inclusivity, and openness based on reciprocity from third countries (e.g. through open science, open access and open data approach in which Europe excels).

The study assignment, “Towards a 2030 Vision on the Future of Universities in Europe” was commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD). It was undertaken by the Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services LLP (CSES), supported a team of high-level experts composed of academics and ex-academics.

Europe’s university landscape comprises more than 5000 universities and is characterised by its heterogeneity. The Vision provides an enabling, non-prescriptive framework, which recognises the imperative of maintaining the autonomy of universities and ensuring the principle of academic freedom. It also embodies the values
provided in EU primary legislation, which will underpin the Vision’s implementation.

Accordingly, the Vision – and the transformation modules that underpin it – need to be flexible enough to accommodate differences between universities. These include the degree of emphasis on their different missions (e.g. educational, teaching, research and innovation, societal), the extent of their existing contribution and future capacity to contribute to excellent science, and their different disciplinary and inter-disciplinary strengths.

Reflecting this diversity, the Vision seeks to support universities and to enable them to autonomously determine their own developmental needs and pathways towards the achievement of the 2030 Vision.
Given that the Vision covers a broad range of issues, challenges and opportunities for universities between now and 2030, an effort was made to build a consensus among stakeholders. However, whilst the analysis presented in the report has been closely informed by desk research, stakeholder events and feedback from the university networks, there are divergent viewpoints in some areas. This reflects different viewpoints among different types of universities in Europe and variance in the baseline situation in terms of how strong particular universities are in the research and innovation domain already, and what progress remains.

As such, the study represents the authors’ best efforts to establish a degree of consensus on the main priorities for universities in Europe.

In parallel with the publication of the revitalised European Research Area (ERA) Communication 2020, this report is designed to provide inspiration for the development of an EU policy framework on the future of universities in the fields of research and innovation. The study, therefore, provides an important starting point to inform the policy debate on a possible follow-up Communication on the Future of Universities in Europe to 2030 in 2021. This could set out in greater detail how Europe might best support and further enable universities’ ongoing transformations, building on the section of the new ERA Communication which addresses this topic.

Read the whole study here. 

Building structure in cross-sectoral collaborations

By SalM on October 22, 2020 in News

Institutional structure is crucial to the success of a cross-sectoral collaboration. Building such a structure is an on-going and complex process and not a one-time exercise.

The experiences from the RiConfigure Social Labs and Dialogue Days suggest a list of structural elements that partners in a collaboration should attend to in order to make it thrive:

  1. The financial framework – financial resources and their distribution naturally affects the nature of collaborations. Partners should be aware that their financial contributions are closely related to (often tacit) power structures, which manifests themselves in agenda setting, decision power and inclusion/exclusion from the collaboration. Moreover, civil society often lack financial resources, which is why external funding that is often stable and equally distributed is a powerful means to achieve a successful quadruple helix collaboration.
  2. Collaboration constellation – the order in which partners enter into the collaboration is central to its structure. Partners should be aware that the initiating actor often has a decisive impact on the structure of the collaboration and that civil society is often the last one to enter leaving its actors with a more peripheral role.
  3. Legal and governance frameworks – clear guidelines support collaboration. These might include non-disclosure agreements, letters of intent and written workplans but also agreements with external actors such as funding agencies or governance boards. However, partners should be aware that familiarity with these types of agreement varies. They might especially be new to civil society actors.
  4. Common vision and shared goals – these should be ensured to help overcoming collaboration barriers. Common vision and shared goals both apply to the concrete collaboration working toward a certain value output, but it also implies wider goals such as national R&I strategies or the UN SDGs. Idealist perspectives might also motivate collaboration.
  5. Regular reflection – cross-sectoral collaboration is complex involving a variety of people, cultures, practices, geographical distances etc. Consequently, partners should prioritize regular reflection in order to help aligning goals, building trust, fostering transparency, and overcoming communication barriers and power gaps.

In addition to this, participants of the RiConfigure Dialogue provided the following recommendations for policy that could ease the efforts of building structure:

  1. Increase funding for inclusive collaboration that allows adaptation and experimentation as well as support- and training structures.
  2. Raise awareness of collaborative innovation and challenge the dominance of ‘business orientation’.
  3. Support collaborative efforts as opposed to stakeholder engagement.
  4. Pluralize the understanding of civil society, establishing a continuum from civil society organizations to less privileged publics.

How many institutional changes have Horizon2020 RRI projects yet achieved?

By SalM on October 22, 2020 in News

Niamh Delaney and Raluca Iagher developed a report on Institutional changes towards responsible research and innovation: Achievements in Horizon 2020 and recommendations on the way forward. This document reports on the Horizon 2020 Science with and for Society (SwafS), Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) project portfolio results.

We need science education for all, gender equality in our organisations, ethics and integrity embedded in research, communication we can trust, open science and ultimately place citizens at the core to ensure excellent Research and Innovation to tackle the challenges of today for a better future. Europe can only thrive by matching the immense potential of science with the values, needs, and aspirations of society. Horizon Europe must strengthen efforts to tap into the vast potential citizens have to offer and ensure effective cooperation between science and society.

Executive Summary

Research and innovation are essential to finding solutions to the pressing challenges we face. It requires opening up the research and innovation system to the participation and collective intelligence of society, embedding high integrity and ethics standards, raising interest in science, and supporting Europe’s brightest minds engage in scientific careers. Put simply, Europe cannot thrive without ensuring the best possible match between the immense potential achievements science has to offer and the needs, values and aspirations of citizens.

Institutional changes towards responsible research and innovation

The objective of this report is to convey the achievements of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) projects funded under the Science with and for Society (hereinafter referred to as SwafS) part of Horizon 2020. Its purpose is to serve as input for the preparation of the Horizon Europe programme implementation.

Overview of SwafS Implementation in Horizon 2020

A budget of EUR 462 million was earmarked for SwafS in Horizon 2020. Close to 2,000 proposals submitted in response to the annual calls for proposals, convey strong interest in SwafS matters. The annual evaluations are deemed to be highly robust. So far, they resulted in 150 funded projects and close to 50 more projects are expected to stem from the final calls under Horizon 2020. Since the start of this Framework Programme, REA Unit B.5 manages the projects. SwafS projects are typically composed of large consortia with an average of 11 partners and tend to run for around 3 years.

Institutional Changes towards Responsible Research and Innovation

The Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approach supported by the European Commission since 2011 encourages societal actors to work together during the whole research and innovation (R&I) process to better align R&I and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society. RRI topics have been geared towards establishing institutional changes in higher education institutes, research funding and performing organisations, industry, SMEs, as well as local and regional authorities, opening them up to closer co-operation with citizens and civil society. After analysing where organisations stand in terms of existing RRI practices, projects drafted action plans to support the implementation of institutional changes intended to last beyond the lifetime of project funding.

Projects focused on implementing institutional changes in research funding and performing organisations, higher education institutions, as well as research and technology organisations in terms of their governance systems related, for instance, to ethics, open science, citizen engagement and gender equality. Industry-focused projects produced practical tools and highlighted promising practices to enable the development of innovative products and services that directly address societal needs while contributing to environmental and economic sustainability. The territorial portfolio of projects supports around 10 per cent of all EU regions to develop more open and collaborative approaches to society by taking a Responsible Research and Innovation approach. Many of the projects from across this portfolio have taken disciplinary or sectoral approaches (e.g. focused on marine research institutes, the biosciences, or deindustrialising regions), suggesting that drawing on common links can foster productive environments for conceptualisation and implementation of institutional changes.

Furthermore, RRI projects produced an array of invaluable resources for organisations intending to implement RRI practices. Embedding RRI and implementing structural changes in the European R&I landscape requires building a strong evidence base, disseminating tools and practices, supporting networks of practitioners, and effectively 6 monitoring progress towards goals. For instance, FP7’s MoRRI project implemented the first RRI monitoring system in Europe and its successor Supper_MoRRI, supported by SwafS, builds on this work. The portfolio of RRI projects as a whole is marked by a high level of global collaboration, helping influence the development of policies at national level and raising the EU’s profile as a global R&I actor. The ‘Pathways declaration’ emerging from one of the projects, signed by more than 13 projects, called for RRI to remain a central objective in EU R&I and for the EU to continue to pursue its leading role in this effort.

Concluding remarks

Since 2014, the projects funded under ‘Science with and for Society’ contributed to its primary aims set out in the EU Regulation establishing Horizon 2020, notably to effectively build cooperation between science and society, recruit new talent for science and pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility.1 One of the key ways of working towards these three SwafS objectives, and ensuring impact, is the implementation of institutional changes2 in beneficiaries reflected in the SwafS Key Performance Indicator: ‘Percentage of research organisations funded implementing actions to promote Responsible Research and Innovation, and number of institutional change measures adopted as a result’. 3

The results of a sample of twelve RRI projects revealed that almost 250 individual institutional change actions are implemented or in the process of being implemented by this part of the SwafS portfolio.4 Added to this, is the pioneer of institutional changes, the Gender Equality Plans (GEPs), with 130 institutions (78%) having implemented or in the process of implementing a GEP.

SwafS will well and truly surpass its target of 100 institutional changes in beneficiaries by the end of Horizon 2020. Consequently, SwafS stakeholders are in an excellent position to take a leading role in supporting other entities envisaging institutional transformation.

In conclusion, inclusiveness on all levels underpins SwafS. RRI dimensions (gender, open access, science education, ethics and public engagement), must be part of how research and innovation is realised in all domains as well as its implications for governance. Horizon Europe needs to leverage SwafS know-how and tap into the vast potential citizens and society have to offer and continue to ensure effective cooperation between science and society. 1 Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing Horizon 2020 2 An institutional change is a change (with meaningful impact) in terms of how a beneficiary governs or structures itself in relation to any of the RRI dimensions (public engagement, open access, gender, ethics, science education), and lasts beyond the lifetime of project funding. 3 Horizon 2020 indicators 4

This data collection exercise did not cover projects dedicated to gender equality, ethics, or open access/open data, which, to various degrees, focus also on institutional changes.

Read the whole report here.


Mapping RRI dimensions into regional development

By SalM on October 21, 2020 in News

The recent study from Panciroli et al. (2020) “Mapping RRI Dimensions and Sustainability into Regional Development Policies and Urban Planning Instruments” was published within the framework of the European Union’s H2020 Research and Innovation Programme on building self-sustaining research and innovation ecosystems in Europe through Responsible Research and Innovation. The study presents a comprehensive methodology for integrating RRI practices into territorial planning.

In particular, the authors argue that with regional and local authorities being encouraged to take advantage of the Responsible Research and Innovation approach, it is of utmost importance to learn more about the process behind it and the ways of implementing it, especially as it affects territorial development policies. To that end, embedding RRI into territorial development policies and spatial planning tools is not a clear and linear process. Consciously or not, many territories have already adopted policies and planning instruments that incorporate RRI, generating effects at spatial scales, and the study essentially explores these subtle processes.

As the authors mentioned, describing the degree of inclusion of Responsible Research and Innovation in European territories is still a challenge. When it comes to aligning R&I outcomes to the values, needs, and expectations of the society, the investigation of the characteristics of the regional development policies and urban planning instruments is believed to be a key opportunity to picture the state-of-the-art on how territories have been able to embed RRI into policy instruments to drive the development of such territories.

The central aim of the study is to provide a methodology to map the inclusion of RRI dimensions into regional development policies and spatial planning instruments, in order to detect integrated strategies and elements that are sustainable, open, inclusive, anticipative, and responsive. The mapping methodology has been applied to the three SeeRRI territories, providing them with a baseline to improve the integration of the RRI approach in their commitments to develop self-sustaining research and innovation ecosystems. Through the lessons learned from the pilot cases, recommendations are drawn for the integration of RRI in spatial and urban planning policies and tools.

The paper has been published in Open Access here.

Authors: Panciroli, A.; Santangelo, A.; Tondelli, S. (2020). Mapping RRI Dimensions and Sustainability into Regional Development Policies and Urban Planning Instruments. Sustainability 2020, 12, 5675.


Implementing Responsible Research and Innovation: Organisational and National Conditions

By SalM on October 20, 2020 in News

What are the drivers of and barriers to RRI implementation? See here for a summary of 12 national reports (both EU and from further afield) produced by the now-concluded RRI PRACTICE project.

The book disseminates both the organisational analysis conducted in the project and the comparison of the national discourses and practices of relevance to RRI. As the overall research design and the theoretical framework employed in the project is of direct import on the coding scheme used in Part I, they treat the research design and theoretical backbone of the project in Part I, while the analysis of national discourses and practices are discussed in Part II. The national discourses and further national environment are frequently discussed and shown to be of importance for the organisations surveyed in Part I. The further treatment and comparison of national discourses and practices in Part II allow us to deepen our understanding of the impact of the national environments of the organisations surveyed with respect to conditions for the uptake of RRI. They conclude the book with reflections on the relation between the organisational and national analyses.

Introduction to the RRI-Practice Study

RRI is the acronym for Responsible Research and Innovation, a concept supported by the European Commission, calling for a new relationship between society, research, and innovation (von Schomberg 2012). The RRI-Practice project reviewed RRI- related work in 23 research performing and research funding organisations located in 12 different countries. The organisations vary on parameters such as size, teaching obligations, and impact in the national funding landscape. Additionally, some are policy organisations, closely tied to the political system in the countries, while others operate at arm’s length to political management or are formally independent entities. (See Tables 2.2 and 2.3 in Chap. 2 below for details of organisations researched).

Through interviews, focus group interviews, workshops of various formats, and document reviews, the project traced organisational practices that can be related to the five RRI policy keys (also called thematic elements) and four RRI process dimensions, central to current theorised understandings of what constitutes RRI- Practices (e.g. Owen et al. 2012; Stilgoe et al. 2013). A common denominator for the keys and dimensions is ‘RRI aspects.’ It is only in a subset of the surveyed organisations that the notion of RRI is widely known; in some organisations only a smaller portion of the employees are familiar with the RRI concept; and in most cases, this project constituted the first contact for the notion of RRI. This does not leave out the possibility of organisational practices that are commonly parallel or what Sally Randles and colleagues have termed ‘de facto rri’ (e.g. Randles 2016; Randles et al. 2016). In collaboration with each organisation, the national project research teams developed RRI Outlooks outlining RRI objectives, targets and indicators for each organisation. The result of this work was 12 publicly available country reports, comprising an analysis of the national context for the uptake of RRI, the status of RRI-related practices in each organisation, action plans for developing and sustaining RRI practices, and suggestions for indicators for individual organisations.

It is the data from these 12 national reports that inform this book, and which are summarised in Table 2.4 in Chap. 2.4

In addition, the project developed a report comparing implementations across case studies at the level of specific RRI keys and process dimensions of RRI (Hennen et al. 2018); a booklet with recommendations to national policymakers (Owen et al. 2019); as well as a handbook on how to develop RRI in organisations, showcasing 11 good practices, and the provision of practical advice to managers, change agents, and researchers with an interest in RRI (Wittrock and Forsberg 2019). They draw on the latter material selectively in their analysis.

Read more in the book here.


Event: Celebrating openness

By SalM on October 20, 2020 in News

Why is transparency important for the research process? What are the advantages and challenges of opening up research? How are researchers at the University of Groningen doing this in practical terms? Can a modified lottery be a just method to assign research funding or prizes?

Join this online event on 22 October to celebrate the many ways in which academics make their research more accessible, transparent, or reproducible.

Detailed programme

Keynote: What is transparency for? (Simine Vazire)

Science is often said to be self-correcting, but we rarely hear about what makes science self-correcting. Some mechanisms that are meant to provide quality control, such as peer-reviewed journals, or textbooks, have recently been found not to provide much of a safeguard against invalid claims. Instead, I argue that we should look for visible signs of a scientific community’s commitment to self-correction, rather than taking it for granted that all of science is self-correcting. The first pillar of commitment to self-correction is transparency. Without transparency, detecting and correcting errors is almost impossible. However, transparency is not sufficient for self-correction. The second pillar of a commitment to self-correction is the critical appraisal. Transparently-reported research outputs are the beginning of a process, not the endpoint. Researchers should be encouraged to take advantage of each other’s transparency to interrogate and scrutinize one another’s claims, and rewarded for this type of work. The self-correcting mechanisms in science can be found in a community’s commitment to transparency and critical appraisal.

Simine Vazire is a Professor at the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Her research examines individual and institutional practices and norms in science, and the degree to which these norms encourage or impede self-correction and credibility. She is Editor in Chief of Collabra: Psychology and has served as an editor at several other journals. She is a board member of the Public Library Of Science and the Berkeley Institute for Transparency in the Social Sciences, was a member of the US National Academy of Science study committee on replicability and reproducibility, and co-founded the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS).

Keynote: Benefits and challenges of adopting open research practices (Ineke Wessel)

The replication crisis in psychology and the subsequent rise in the use of open research practices requires a radical change in perspective for more senior researchers. “Old-school” researchers who are looking to implement change may feel challenged by old habits at an individual (How to recognize questionable research practices?) as well as a more systemic level (e.g. bias in the academic publishing process, reward structures at their institutions). In the present contribution, I will talk about some of those challenges and possible ways of dealing with them. As an illustration, I will present a recent project that involved a) writing up decades-old null-results rather than leaving them in my file drawer; b) exploring multiple ways of data analysis rather than deciding on one (arbitrary) best analysis (i.e., multiverse analysis) and c) collaborating with early career researchers with up-to-date technical knowledge (e.g., R., RMarkdown).

Ineke Wessel is an associate professor of experimental psychopathology at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. She has studied (emotional) autobiographical memory since the 1990s. Her research interests include the involvement of memory in the origins and maintenance of psychopathology and the malleability of emotional memories themselves, including false / recovered memories. Relatively recently, she became fascinated with the question of what the current replication crisis in psychology may mean for clinical psychology. Having received “old school” academic training, she tries to switch to Open Science practices as much as possible. She wrote a series of blogposts about her experiences.

Lightning talks: Inspiring open research case studies from UG researchers

Be inspired by peers! Three UG researchers will present their case studies as lightning talks (5-10 minutes). They will share their experience with open research, demonstrate how they – successfully or unsuccessfully – apply open research practices and explore the challenges and difficulties of making open choices.

Prior to the event, the jury randomly drew these three case studies among all eligible submissions of the award. The three submissions are invited to present their research as lightning talks during the event and will each receive 500 euros.

Modified lotteries in research funding

The award is meant to highlight and acknowledge endeavours to apply open research practices and not to rank submissions in a competitive manner. A modified lottery system is therefore used as it fits well with the ‘open and fair’ principles of the award. It is also expected to reduce bias, to increase diversity and to contribute to alleviating the competitive climate in academia.

Can modified lotteries really be a useful and just way to assign research funding or prizes? The panel discussion ‘Luck of the draw’ features Pauline Kleingeld (UG, Faculty of Philosophy), Marie-José van Tol (UMCG) and Marco Bieri (Swiss National Science Foundation, SNSF). The SNSF has experimented with the random selection process for research funding since 2019.


13.00 – Welcome

13.10 – Keynote: What is transparency for?
Prof. Simine Vazire, University of Melbourne

13.50 – Online coffee break

14.00 – Keynote: Benefits and challenges of adopting open research practices
Dr Ineke Wessel, University of Groningen

14.40 – Online coffee break

14.50 – Lightning talks – Inspiring open research case studies from 3 UG researchers

15.45 – Panel discussion: Luck of the draw. Using modified lotteries in research funding

16.30 – Closing and online drinks

17.00 – End

More information:

Thursday, October 22, 2020
1:00pm – 5:00pm
Time Zone:
Central European Time