27 October 2021
Twenty-six projects related to open science are set to receive a financial stimulus of up to 50,000 euros. It concerns projects that focus on innovative ways of (open) publishing, sharing FAIR data as well as software, or projects that help drive the culture change needed to achieve open science. ‘The Open Science Fund is an important next step in recognising and valuing open research practices,’ says Caroline Visser, who is responsible for open science on NWO’s Executive Board.
The awarded projects cover a broad range of new open science practices. Some focus on developing new tools and software for data visualisation, such as the Raincloudplots 2.0 project by professor Rogier Kievit (Radboud University) or on anonymising open text data, as in the project by Dr Bennett Kleinberg (Tilburg University). Other projects aim to promote the interoperability of data by developing standards, as Dr Rombert Stapel (KNAW/IISG) will do in his CLAIR-HD project for the discipline of historical demography. Yet another category aims to promote the culture change needed for open science. The Open Science Escape Room by Dr Anita Eerland (Radboud University) introduces researchers to the benefits and challenges of open science in a playful way.
Open science undervalued
NWO set up the Open Science Fund as a way to recognise and reward open science practices by supporting projects by researchers who are (or want to be) frontrunners in this movement. Part of the assessment, therefore, included applicants’ open science track record, which counted for 10% of the assessment. Sixty-four per cent of researchers feel that open science is undervalued and does not receive sufficient recognition, according to a recent poll conducted by Markteffect on behalf of NWO. More results will follow in early November in the next issue of NWO’s Onderzoek magazine.
There was considerable interest in this first round of the Open Science Fund. A total of 167 admissible applications were assessed, 26 of which were granted. ‘In recent years,’ Visser says, ‘there has been a real increase in the interest shown by researchers in open science. At NWO, we are trying to support this with the Open Science Fund. Not just by supporting innovative projects but hopefully also by providing much-needed recognition and rewards through funding.’
Shelley Stall, Senior Director of the American Geophysical Union’s Data Leadership programme and a member of the Open Science Fund selection committee, said, ‘I am grateful to be included on this committee and inspired by the high-quality and broad innovation reflected in the proposals. This model of funding that directly results in better open science practices is exemplary. The response from the community to develop tangible tools, practices, and communication show an earnestness to smoothing the adoption path for all researchers towards more open science. Thank you to NWO for this important investment.’
The Open Science Fund was launched by NWO last year. A budget of over 1.2 million euros is available for this first round, in which 26 projects are now eligible for funding. A second round will be opened in the second half of 2022.
NWO has long been committed to the transition to Open Science. Publications resulting from NWO funding should therefore be available in Open Access. Research data generated during NWO projects should also be made available as openly as possible. NWO is also committed to recognizing and valuing open science practices, partly as part of the national Recognition and Valuation program.