NWO survey: “Researchers positive about Open Science, but barriers remain”.

4 November 2021

87% of all researchers have a (very) positive attitude towards Open Science. Young scientists are even more enthusiastic with a percentage of 94%. However, researchers still experience barriers in the practical implementation. This has emerged from a survey commissioned by NWO among researchers from all disciplines.

When asked about the importance of Open Science, ethical aspects score high. According to the respondents, Open Science leads to more transparency and therefore to science that is more reliable and has higher integrity (90%). Equally important, researchers find that Open Science leads to more equal access to scientific results (independent of economic position or where someone is appointed). The fact that research is often publicly funded and should therefore be freely available to anyone who has an interest in it is also important (87%). Many researchers think that Open Science is also simply better for science itself: sharing data, software and methods leads to a more efficient scientific practice.

Digital Competence Centres

“You can see that in recent years there has really been a change of attitude towards Open Science and that is good news”, says Caroline Visser, responsible for Open Science in the NWO Executive Board. But she also notes that there are still barriers to be overcome. “Lack of financial resources is the main obstacle for researchers to practice Open Science. Better infrastructure, clear instructions and more time would also help to put Open Science more into practice. Earlier this year, NWO gave an impulse to the support of Open Science via the local Digital Competence Centres (DCCs), where researchers can go with all their data- and software-related questions. You can tell that there is a real need for this.”

Henk Wals, director of DANS, endorses the importance of the local DCCs: “Findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) data are an essential part of Open Science. If you ask researchers what they need, support with research data management always turns out to be one of the most important requests. It is great that the local DCCs are now underway.” In addition, there will be thematic DCCs at domain level, says Wals. “These can support the local DCCs by ensuring, for example, that data within a domain are more findable and interoperable.” DANS has been asked by NWO to work on a thematic DCC for Social Sciences & Humanities.

More information

NWO commissioned bureau Markteffect to conduct the survey in September 2021. Read more in the online magazine Research that appears today.

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Henk Wals Ph.D.

Director