The Ministry of Education and Culture has set the target at making Finland one of the world’s leading countries for the openness of science and research and utilisation of the possibilities offered by open science. The principles of openness have also been strongly integrated in Laurea’s operations.
The objective of open research is to increase the influence of science in society. Openness means faster access to the results of scientific research for everyone, which saves resources, improves the quality of science and also makes applying its results in practice easier.
– The universities, in particular, talk about open science. Universities of applied science, on the other hand, now prefer the concept of open RDI, which is a better description of what we do, explains Hanna Lahtinen, Director of Laurea’s Information and publishing services.
– In the context of open science, the openness of results, or publications, is talked about a lot. However, the results may include not only publications but also patents, inventions or service innovations.
Spotlight on methods, data and results
Open operating culture generally also refers to open scientific and RDI methodology; in other words, how the research was conducted and how the results were obtained. Open RDI thus has three elements: methodology, data and results.
– At Laurea, we strongly feel that it includes the openness of the organisation in an even more extensive sense, encompassing both RDI and teaching, says Lahtinen.
– In addition to the Open University of Applied Sciences, the openness of teaching also comprises such aspects as the sharing of teaching materials and MOOCs, or massive open online courses. In fact, Laurea’s LbD action model, in which the students and teachers engage in development projects outside the school walls, represents openness at its best.
A key objective of open science is increasing the societal influence of science and research.
– Openness promotes the transparency of higher education, and research produced on tax funding can be accessed by any citizen free of charge, continues Minna Marjamaa, Information Specialist from Laurea Library.
– On the other hand, the objectives of openness include accelerating research by making the collected data available for other scientists. Additionally, the utilisation of research-based information is accelerated and facilitated, which also promotes the application and commercial use of the results.
Open access to publications
In order for research to be influential, the dissemination of information and results plays a key role. While the data and results of research projects could previously end up buried in a folder and publications had low visibility, openness brings new possibilities.
One way in which Laurea promotes openness in science is the parallel publishing of data in Theseus, the publication archive of the universities of applied sciences. By permission of the publisher, Laurea Library stores research articles in a database where all interested parties can access them.
– Theseus’ publication archive is highly optimised for search engines. Google is increasingly used for data searches, and parallel publishing makes it easy for search engines to find articles, says Information Specialist Minna Marjamaa.
The goal of promoting open science is to make all possible teaching and RDI materials openly accessible. Naturally, such factors as legislation, contractual issues and ethical principles set limitations to this. It is also not necessary to provide open access to all material immediately.
– Openness also elicits many fears, as the work carried out by researchers is placed under a completely new kind of scrutiny, explains Director Hanna Lahtinen from Laurea’s Information and publishing services.
– The transition to more open practices requires courage, and we must learn to cast aside old thinking patterns. Openness is also an opportunity for researchers, as their work receives more attention and visibility.
Research funding providers today also increasingly require open access to research data and results. The principle of openness has been taken the furthest by EU programmes, including Horizon2020, but also by such Finnish funding provides as the Academy of Finland and TEKES. Private funding providers also increasingly emphasise openness.
Laurea improved its ranking in a comparison of research organisations
The Open Science and Research project of the Ministry of Education and Culture produced a report on the realisation of an open operating culture in Finnish research organisations in 2016. This report covered all Finnish universities, universities of applied sciences and university hospitals, as well as 12 research institutes.
A level of maturity table with five levels was used to assess the openness of research organisations’ operating cultures. The only one to reach the top level was the University of Helsinki. Laurea was placed on the third level as the third best university of applied science after its counterparts in Seinäjoki and Lahti.