[Taxacom] UNESCO Open Science Recommendation

KD Dijkstra KD.Dijkstra at naturalis.nl
Thu Mar 5 04:10:21 CST 2020


I think no genuine scientist opposes “open science”. But people are right
to be skeptical if “science” embraces “openness” after pushing for
“closedness” for decades. More means to share knowledge are great, but only
make sense if the field isn’t designed to be fundamentally competitive. If
institutes need large grants to stay afloat and “high ranking” papers are
the ticket to getting them, peer review of manuscripts and applications
will continue to be an exercise in tearing each other down, for example. So
it’s hard to have truly “open science” as long as impact factors determine
everything, or as long as research consortia are consistently favored over
individual brilliance.

Personally, I feel more “open” scientists aren’t always encouraged.
Taxonomy and natural history are very public sciences, benefitting
non-academics directly and disproportionately. The fundamental problem
there is that funders (and indeed most scientists) don’t appreciate the
difference between information (i.e. units of hard data) and expertise
(that fuzzy familiarity with a topic). Organizations and institutes, for
example, happily invest in infrastructure to collate species records,
because from there it seems to work by itself. They invest much less in
improving or even stimulating those data, e.g. with taxonomic works like
field guides that increase the quality of what comes in, or by creating
capacity to vet those data. And why would they? Quantitatively the
infrastructure is already successful, with data rushing in, and only a few
specialists can judge the actual quality, most of whom are so passionate
they’ll do it (almost) for free.

So the second problem is that we can’t dream of “open science” as long as
lucrative research that keeps scientists ensconced in their “ivory towers”
is favored. Genomics and big data analysis, for example, may be very
relevant scientifically, or even benefit mankind as a whole, but for the
average individual it’s not especially engaging or enlightening. If we want
science to be “open”, we must invest in those that are already close to the

Summarizing, seeing “open science” as mainly an infrastructural challenge
in the current academic climate has two main drawbacks. Firstly, the risk
of any investment being captured by established interests is great, as
Stephen put forward. Secondly, it detracts from the actual solution, which
is to invest in “open scientists”, including communicative specialists with
accessible interests.

Cheers, KD

*KD (Klaas-Douwe) B Dijkstra*
See my new website! kddijkstra.nl
key appearances and publications
my work <https://sites.google.com/view/kddijkstra/home/my-work> and my
species <https://sites.google.com/view/kddijkstra/home/my-species>
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online

On Thu, 5 Mar 2020 at 01:03, Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

>  Carlos,I am calm, I'm just saying it as it is. What you describe is an
> idealistic vision of how things might pan out, but I strongly suspect that
> the way things actually pan out will be determined by the power of the $.
> Publishers aren't going to give up their current profit margins without a
> fight, and if they can negotiate a mutually profitable deal with publicly
> funded research institutions to secure a bigger share of the public purse,
> then that is by far the most likely outcome. There is already a lot of
> "spin", putting this in terms of "public good", i.e. "free" access by the
> public to publicly funded research, when it is nothing of the sort!Cheers,
> Stephen
>     On Wednesday, 4 March 2020, 09:37:08 pm UTC, Carlos Alberto Martínez
> Muñoz <biotemail at gmail.com> wrote:
>  Hi Stephen,What you have not understood is that:1) by shifting from
> for-profit OA private publishing to non-profit OA academic publishing we
> could cut OA expenses down by up to 1/3 of the current expenses and2) use
> those funds to actually produce more OA research or to maintain the actual
> level while investing more on platform development.Calm down, drink some
> ice tea and read my emails again. You will see that I already explained 1
> and 2. Of course that no technology can help us against greed. That's why
> we have to fight it, no matter if it comes from private publishers, from
> institutions or from unscrupulous scientists or managerial staff.
> Cheers,Carlos
> Carlos A. Martínez MuñozZoological Museum, Biodiversity UnitFI-20014
> University of TurkuFinlandResearchGate profileMyriapod Morphology and
> Evolution
> El mié., 4 mar. 2020 a las 22:16, Stephen Thorpe (<
> stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>) escribió:
>  "In the context of pressing planetary and socio-economic challenges,"
> diverting $billions of public funds into OA/OS initiatives, so as to boost
> the profits of research institutions working with public money, is clearly
> one of the biggest con jobs of the 21st Century. It has to result in
> either: (1) less research being done with the same amount of public
> funding; or(2) more public funding being diverted to science to maintain
> the same level of research, funding which cannot therefore be spent on
> "pressing planetary and socio-economic challenges".
> Witness the subterfuges used by the wealthy half (third, quarter?) of
> humanity to further their own interests at the expense of the interests of
> "the outgroup"...
> Stephen
>     On Wednesday, 4 March 2020, 10:41:59 am UTC, Carlos Alberto Martínez
> Muñoz via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>  Dear Taxacomers,
> Please note that the questionnaire for inputs into the development of the
> UNESCO Open Science Recommendation is available online here (
> https://en.unesco.org/news/unesco-launches-global-consultation-develop-standard-setting-instrument-open-science
> )
> and here (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N958HFW).
> In the context of pressing planetary and socio-economic challenges,
> sustainable and innovative solutions must be supported by an efficient,
> transparent and vibrant scientific effort - not only stemming from the
> scientific community, but from the whole society. Open Science embodies the
> need to transform and democratize the entire scientific process to ensure
> that science truly drives and enables the achievement of the United Nations
> Sustainable Development Goals for the benefits of all.
> Driven by unprecedented advances in our digital world, the transition to
> Open Science allows scientific information, data and outputs to be more
> widely accessible (Open Access) and more reliably harnessed (Open Data)
> with the active engagement of all relevant stakeholders (Open to Society).
> However, in the fragmented scientific and policy environment, a global
> understanding of the meaning, opportunities and challenges of Open Science
> is still missing.
> UNESCO, as the United Nations Agency with a mandate for Science, is the
> legitimate global organization enabled to build a coherent vision of Open
> Science and a shared set of overarching principles and shared values. That
> is why, at the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, 193 Member
> States tasked the Organization with the development of an international
> standard-setting instrument on Open Science in the form of a UNESCO
> Recommendation on Open Science.
> UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science will be prepared through a regionally
> balanced, multistakeholder, inclusive and transparent consultation process.
> This process is guided by an Open Science Advisory Committee and is
> expected to lead to the adoption of the Recommendation by UNESCO Member
> States in 2021.
> As UNESCO launches its consultation process on Open Science, an online
> survey is designed to conduct inputs from all the regions and the
> interested stakeholders, about aspects, benefits and challenges of Open
> Science across the globe.
> All Open Science stakeholders, including scientists and scientific
> institutes, science publishers, science policy makers etc., are encouraged
> to participate and  to share their insights trough a global survey
> <https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N958HFW>. In addition, you can help the
> collection of a broader perspective on Open Science by sharing this survey
> among your network.
> The questionnaire is also available for download
> <
> https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/questionnaire_unesco_open_science.pdf
> >.
> It can be filled offline and sent to us by email at:
> openscience at unesco.org
> (link sends e-mail) <openscience at unesco.org>.
> I wonder if some day we will pair the Codes of Nomenclature with Open
> Science and mandate that all new names and nomenclatural acts, to be
> available, have to be published open access. Names form the basis of our
> biodiversity informatics services and they shouldn't continue to be born in
> paywalled publications. We are the keepers of scientific names and taxon
> descriptions. We should strive for them to be accessible.
> Regards,
> Carlos A. Martínez Muñoz
> Zoological Museum, Biodiversity Unit
> FI-20014 University of Turku
> Finland
> ResearchGate profile
> <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Carlos_Martinez-Munoz>
> Myriapod Morphology and Evolution
> <https://www.facebook.com/groups/205802113162102/>
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