Open Science

Open science is the movement to make scientific research and its dissemination accessible to the scientific community and citizens. It is based on transparency, inclusion, correctness, fairness and sharing.

Open Science is an approach based on transparency, inclusion, research integrity and collaboration that promotes unfettered access to scientific knowledge. A strategic objective of the European Union since 2015 and of UNESCO and its recommendations since 2021, it is now the subject of a June 2022 National Plan on Open Science by the Italian Ministry of University and Research. The aim is to open up scientific knowledge to external participation and scrutiny, so that it can be improved and re-used, to the benefit of society as a whole.

The scope of Open Science is broad. It applies to the availability of publications and research data but also to the research processes that lead to these results. It covers all the aspects that amplify the impact of research on our society: open educational resources, software, hardware, open infrastructures for knowledge creation and sharing, the involvement of citizens and other social actors, and all forms of dissemination.

Open Science at the University of Bologna

The University of Bologna’s journey towards Open Science began by signing the Messina Declaration in 2004 and the Berlin Declaration in 2005. In the years that followed, Unibo has been engaged in defining a more open, transparent and collaborative science both in terms of strategies and of support services.

In January 2018 Unibo has adopted a University Policy on open access to publications and to research (in Italian) [.pdf 131 KB] data requiring green open access for any scientific publication through the deposit of a digital copy in the Institutional research archive IRIS-IR. In this Policy, which also covers research data and doctoral dissertations, the University commits to sustaining also other forms of open access through institutional editorial services (AlmaDL) and agreements with commercial publishers.

The University included Open Science in its 2019-2022 strategic planning and has made it a central objective of its 2022-2027 plan. To sustain this effort, it appointed in December 2022 its first ever Open Science and research data Delegate, who works in close collaboration with the Research Vice Rector and in lockstep with the Digital Transformation Vice Rector, and the Delegates for Cultural Heritage and Public Engagement.

In March 2023 Unibo set up a Working Group on Open Science - GLOS, coordinated by the Delegate, which contributes to the implementation of strategic actions and supports the University in defining new policies and actions in collaboration with Open Science representatives at the departmental level as well as administrative and technical staff.

In addition, Unibo takes part to the international debate around Open Science and actively contributes to it. It manages and makes available Open Science infrastructures like OpenCitations, and participates in national and internationals networks and associations such as the Italian Computing and Data Infrastructure - ICDI, the EOSC Association and OPERAS. ​It is also among the signatories of CoARA’s Agreement on reforming research assessment, which regards Open Science practices as enhancing research quality.​

Support services: data repository, consultancy, training

Unibo repository for Open ScienceThe University of Bologna has developed services to support researchers in doing Open Science and especially opening access to publications and underlying research data.

In addition to the Institutional research archive IRIS-IR, devoted to scientific publications, Unibo makes available the following repositories: AMS Acta for research data, software and grey literature; AMSLaurea and AMSDottorato for theses and doctoral dissertations; AMS Historica for cultural heritage and collections of published or unpublished primary sources. Through institutional editorial services, it is also possible to publish for free and in open access (diamond open access) scientific articles (AlmaDL Journals), book series and conference proceedings.

The University Library System - SBA provides support through specialised staff members located in different libraries. They offer advice on open access publishing and perform all the bibliographic checks needed to openly disseminate the publication deposited in IRIS-IR.

To facilitate gold open access publishing, Unibo has also entered several agreements with national and international publishers (among which CARE-CRUI transformative agreements) and provides publishing contract templates to favour the adoption of open access for all scholarly works predominantly funded by public money.

The Library System - SBA also promotes training on Open Science, through Information Literacy services and a video collection.

Research data: the “Data Steward@Unibo” project

Data StewardThe University of Bologna recognises appropriate data management as a strategic asset to improve research quality, and especially its transparency and accessibility, as well as research impact, in terms of dissemination and valorisation.

In 2022, Unibo has launched the strategic project “Data Steward@Unibo”. This new service supports researchers in managing their research data appropriately (producing so-called “FAIR” data) and in writing Data Management Plans. It also serves to strengthen the community’s awareness and understanding of these increasingly mandated Open Science practices.

The project implementation revolves around a team of four professionals, or “data stewards”, each with a background in research and in FAIR data management in their respective disciplinary areas, compounded by expertise on Open Science.

The data stewards work closely with the Research Area and, combining their expertise with the other competences available throughout the University (on privacy, intellectual property rights, institutional data repository AMS Acta, and more), are the preferred single point of contact for anything relating to research data.

Find out more on how to manage your research data and on how data stewards can help by watching the video series “Dati: conoscerli e gestirli per valorizzare la ricerca” (in Italian) on our YouTube channel.




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