S U M M A R Y of 2022 OS Council Conclusions

Summary of the European Council Conclusions on Research Assessment and Implementation of Open Science.
Brussels, 10 June 2022

<< Note: Please read the full Research assessment and implementation of Open Science Conclusions to capture all nuances. This is a shortened version. >>

In order to accelerate the implementation and the impact of Open Science (OS) policies and practices across Europe, action has to be taken in three areas:

Reform of research assessment systems in Europe

  • Europe needs to reform research assessment practices and address this in a joined up, inclusive and collective way including a broad range of actors. 
  • The Council welcomes the European initiative to facilitate the establishment of a broad coalition of stakeholders willing. It encourages Member States to promote research assessment reform at national and regional levels, and encourages organisations engaged in research, incl. research funders and research performing organisations (RPOs), to join it and to promote related guidance and support at national level.
  • Researchers from all career stages need to be involved in this change since they are at the core of it.
  • Research assessment practices should promote early knowledge-sharing. 
  • Researchers should be rewarded for OS practice.
  • Reform should follow principles that include moving to a more balanced approach between the quantitative and the qualitative evaluation of research, recognising all forms of research and innovation output and processes, taking into consideration diverse career pathways and all research and innovation activities and the specificities of the various research disciplines, ensuring that ethics and integrity are of the highest priority and are not compromised by counter-incentives and ensuring diversity, gender equality, and actively promoting women in science.
  • Member States, the Commission and stakeholders are asked to promote independence, openness, reproducibility and transparency of the data and criteria necessary for research assessment and for determining research impacts. 
  • The Commission and Member States should carry out an analysis of any related legal and administrative barriers at EU, national and transnational level. 
  • Data and bibliographic databases used for research assessment should be openly accessible and tools and technical systems should enable transparency.
  • European university alliances and other stakeholders are encouraged to launch pilot projects to establish assessment procedures.  
  • The Council invites the Commission and the Member States to include research assessment principles in the development of various European professional practices, standards and guidelines and in the ERA Talent Platform.

II.  European approach and capacities for academic publishing and scholarly communication

  • It is important to ensure a transparent and competitive market that enables private companies, including SMEs, and publicly funded organisations to contribute to, and benefit from, a shared research knowledge system.
  • We need to work on improving a legal framework to enable unimpeded access to and reuse of publicly-funded research results and to minimise administrative burdens on research infrastructures and services.
  • Concerns exist around the financial burden arising from increased spending for access to scientific publications and for open access publishing. The Council takes note of initiatives which aim to contain expenditures and those that seek to ensure transparency and fair and equal conditions in contracts with publishers.
  • We need to establish a common approach in terms of shared principles for academic publishing and scholarly communication in Europe. The Union and Member States need to develop their capacities for academic publishing together with existing and future public and private stakeholders.
  • It welcomes open publishing platforms such as Open Research Europe or similar and open access (OA) university presses, as well as dedicated research infrastructures. It invites Member States and researcher funders to join Open Research Europe or to consider setting up their own OA publishing platforms.
  • It is important to encourage the diversity of business models for OA journals and platforms.
  • Authors of research publications or their institutions should retain sufficient intellectual property rights to ensure OA.
  • Subscription fees and OA publication fees should be transparent and commensurate with the publication services.
  • Publication of any research output should be based on the assessment of its quality. Bias should be tackled, including those related to financial capacity.
  • The Commission and Member States need to monitor the development and diversity of scientific publishing in Europe and the practices and costs of scholarly publications, including the transparency of billing costs. Member States or research organisations, in cooperation with the Commission, need to take concrete measures against insufficiently transparent contractual arrangements with publishers.
  • Open Science practices such as open peer-review and preprints should be further promoted and be based on rigorous integrity principles and practices.
  • There is a need to increase the reproducibility of research results.
  • Member States should support research organisations to develop guidelines in the area of Open Science and integrity.

III.    Development of multilingualism for European scholarly publications

  • It is crucial to increase the dissemination and impact of scientific research results. English has become the lingua franca for international scientific cross-border collaboration and for communication in many scientific communities
  • Despite this, multilingualism has an important role to play in the context of science communication with society, in particular on the national and regional levels to increase the dissemination and impact of scientific research results and to reach non-academic audiences. The Council welcomes initiatives that promote multilingualism, such as the Helsinki initiative on multilingualism in scholarly communication.
  • With COVID-19, access to new knowledge in different European languages can contribute to enhancing the dissemination of research results much more broadly.
  • Individual researchers should not be responsible for disseminating scholarly publications in more than one language. Nor should this be in contradiction with research customs and traditions. 
  • The semi-automatic translation of scholarly publications in Europe may well have high market potential. 
  • The Commission and the Member States are invited to experiment with multilingualism.
  • The Commission needs to inform the Council on progress made on the three sections of these conclusions by the end of 2023.