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UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship

1 October 2020

The start of the academic year sees the launch of the new UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship. The Office is headed by Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost for UCL Library Services and Open Science and Scholarship.

Decorative image, Open

The creation of the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship is designed to create a virtual body which can work with academic colleagues, departments, and research groups to develop and publicize all our Open Science activities across the institution.

The creation of the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship will enable UCL to concentrate on three broad areas:

  • Ensuring that UCL policies and strategies reflect Open Science/Scholarship principles and practice.
  • Supporting UCL colleagues across the institution as a centre of knowledge for Open Science and Scholarship activities, platforms and services.
  • Building a community of Open Science and Scholarship practice amongst the UCL academic community.

The Office’s website has a section on Community and Support and this is the place where we hope to reach out to Open Science and Scholarship communities across the whole of UCL, to engage with them and to help create a UCL-wide community of Open Science and Scholarship practice.

The office will be supported by the Open@UCL blog and Twitter account. There will also be a central email address for the Office (openscience@ucl.ac.uk) that will be administered by the Open Science and Scholarship Coordinator, based in the Library. There will too be a termly Newsletter, detailing current developments.

The Office for Open Science and Scholarship will be launched in two phases. Today is a soft launch at the start of the academic year 2020-2021. It will be followed up by a full week of events in Open Access week, 19-23 October.

What is Open Science and Scholarship?

Open Science and Scholarship provides a set of principles and suggestions for practice which will transform the research and education landscape across the world to the benefit of Society as a whole.

This landscape is built on Openness, transparency, sharing and collaboration.

There are eight component parts to Open Science and Scholarship and UCL is undertaking work in all of them as an acknowledged European leader in such practice:

  • Future of Scholarly Communication
  • EOSC (European Open Science Cloud)
  • FAIR Data
  • Education & Skills
  • Research Integrity
  • Rewards
  • Next-Generation Metrics
  • Citizen Science

What are the benefits of adopting Open Science/Scholarship practices?

Open Science and Scholarship:

  • Maximize the potential of research and education outputs by allowing researchers to re-use and re-purpose outputs in novel and innovative ways.
  • Give greater accessibility and transparency to the research process.
  • Allow replication and verification of research findings, which can also lead to more collaboration.
  • Open the academic environment to members of the public – their knowledge and insights are invaluable to informing the research process.

Take the example of UCL Press, the UK’s first fully Open Access University Press. It has produced 161 research monographs which are freely available in Open Access to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. These monographs have been downloaded 3,467,240 times in over 230 countries and territories across the globe, thus maximizing the impact of UCL as an institution and of UCL authors.

As Brian Nosek, Director of the Center for Open Science, has said:

"We can be more open, more reproducible, more agile, [and] more inclusive in the scientific process".

In 2020, as we face the coronavirus pandemic, the same arguments to support openness, transparency, collaboration, and sharing are valid. This is an opportunity and a wakeup call to adopt Open Science and Scholarship as a set of principles and values which should guide all future activity. The new UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship can support you to do this. Head to the website for more information.

Dr Paul Ayris
Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services & Office for Open Science and Scholarship)