As studies into researchers’ attitudes regarding open science/research data management often point to a need for practical tips, this is a welcome guide containing a wealth of useful resources and advice from a researcher’s perspective, especially for those working in the life sciences.
Below are some comments/suggestions:
- Open Research could indeed be a more inclusive term than Open Science (although in some cultural contexts “science” is actually understood in a much broader sense than in the Anglosphere – see for example ‘Literaturwissenschaft’ in German: literally ‘literarature science’).
- While the authors rightly focus on the important pillars of open data, open code, open papers and open peer review, I was wondering what their thoughts are on the perhaps more recent calls for open lab notebooks (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opennotebookscience)? I guess this also touches on previous comments regarding openness of the experimental setup as an important dimension of open science.
- It is suggested that “privacy sensitive data” do not belong in the category of public assets available to the public. Although personal data can indeed not be made openly available for legal and ethical reasons, sometimes it can nevertheless be possible to legally and ethically share research data containing personally identifiable information, albeit usually under more restricted conditions (e.g. some trustworthy data repositories are equipped and have the right procedures in place to offer researchers restricted access to personal or otherwise sensitive data). While such data would of course not constitute fully open data in the sense of the Open Definition, maybe the data sharing story should be presented as somewhat more nuanced than a binary choice between either fully open or fully closed data?
- Technically speaking, there is a third type of data repository, namely the institutional data repository (although this kind is usually less relevant for research domains characterized by greater data volumes and larger degrees of standardization and international collaboration – as these domains often build their own international infrastructures).
- Some (well-known) data repositories focus more on publicly disseminating data than on their preservation, so when selecting a repository it’s usually a good idea to also check whether it has an explicit commitment to/policy regarding long-term preservation (of course, certification will provide a strong indication of this, but not all repositories in re3data.org are certified). Other sensible criteria to take into account can be found here: https://www.openaire.eu/opendatapilot-repository. One that is worth emphasizing is whether the repository assigns persistent and unique identifiers, because this is vital to enabling a culture of data citation (which in turn gives researchers credit for making data available).
- For publicly shared data, standard licenses are in principle more interesting than bespoke licenses, because they allow for legal interoperability. An interesting tool to help you select an appropriate standard license for data (or software) is the EUDAT License Selector (http://ufal.github.io/public-license-selector/), although it also includes licenses that are not conformant with the Open Definition.
- The FAIR data concept is indeed gaining prominence among data sharing advocates, and it may be useful to point out one of its distinctive features, namely its emphasis on making data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable to humans as well as machines. Although discussions about the FAIR data concept’s implementation and operationalization are still very much ongoing and although appropriate metadata are definitely a crucial element, it also involves other things such as persistent identifiers, user licenses, non-proprietary formats and standard vocabularies. So maybe the FAIR data concept shouldn’t just be mentioned as part of the section on metadata?
- As regards open access to publications: besides posting preprints, another option for authors to make their work open while still publishing in subscription-based journals is to deposit post-prints in their institutional repositories, although some publishers require an embargo period before the post-print can be made open access. As enablers of the self-archiving, “green” route to open access, institutional repositories are nevertheless a vital part of the open access ecosystem.
- The Open Access Directory (http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Main_Page) and OpenAIRE (https://www.openaire.eu/) might be other useful resources.
- In the context of the general lack of credit for non-traditional research outputs (such as peer reviews), it might also be worthwile pointing to new initiatives attempting to address this issue such as the RIO Open Science Journal (http://riojournal.com/), which publishes a wide variety of research outputs (including e.g. grant proposals and data management plans).
Overall, a great guide for those who want to start practicing open science but don't know where to start!