Raise Awareness About Open Access in Academic Community (SK0098)
Action Plan: Slovak Republic National Action Plan 2017-2019
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport
Support Institution(s): NA
Policy AreasAccess to Information, Education, Open Data, Private Sector, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Science & Technology
Commitment No. 41: Actively create awareness of the possibilities and advantages of Open Access in the academic community, among educational institutions, but also in the commercial sector, NGOs and among the general public. Also spread awareness about the benefits of open publishing for the Ad-vancement of Science.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
THEME - Open Access
Comm 35, 37, 38, 40, 41
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic 2017 – 2019”, http://bit.ly/2QYIlHV ]:
Commitment 35: “To introduce the basic principles of Open Access to scientific publications under a public license under the Operational Program Research and Innovation.”
Commitment 37: “Establish Contact Office for Open Access.”
Commitment 38: “Establish conditions for passportization of open research data under a public license and monitor its implementation in practice.”
Commitment 40: “Design systematic benchmarking monitoring mechanisms for the measurement and comparison and propose further analyses related to acquiring, processing and re-use of research data and Open Access scientific publications.”
Commitment 41: “Actively create awareness of the possibilities and advantages of Open Access in the academic community, among educational institutions, but also in the commercial sector, NGOs and among the general public. Also spread awareness about the benefits of open publishing for the Advancement of Science.”
Start Date: Not specified
End Date: 31 December 2018
Context and Objectives
Open access (OA) is a free, unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles and books[Note : Nature.com, “Open access at Nature research”, https://go.nature.com/2BAaHSX ]. Its main feature is the openness, which enables everyone to access research outputs with no access fees. OA has many advantages for both researchers and the public, as it can reach broader audiences and results in wider interdisciplinary and international collaboration[Note : Nature.com, “As an author, what does publishing open access mean for you?”, https://go.nature.com/2Er2rHI ]. The commitments in this cluster aim for awareness-raising in the topic of open access (OA) and introducing measures to advance OA in Slovak scientific community.
While the responsible institution for these commitments still is the Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport, in day-to-day operation, it is its subordinate organization, the Center of Scientific and Technical Information (CVTI)[Note : The official website of the Center of Scientific and Technical information, http://www.cvtisr.sk/ ]. The interviewed experts agreed that CVTI has experience with the topic and understands what it entails. They all perceived their activities in OA more positively than those of the ministry in open education[Note : Interview with Zuzana Adamová (Creative Commons Slovensko and University of Trnava), 6 November 2018, See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ].
The commitments in this cluster have built on previous efforts in the topic, which is positive as it maintains continuity, and thus increases chances for overall success. As a result of the last action plan[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic 2015”, http://bit.ly/2RevqCc], two important analyses were conducted: Analysis of introducing open access to selected research publications[Note : The government’s meetings. “Analýza možnosti zavedenia otvoreného prístupu k vybraným publikačným výstupom” (Analysis of introducing open access to selected research publications), http://bit.ly/2Ewa5RS (in Slovak) ] and analysis on the barriers to the implementation of full access to the results of science and research[Note : The Ministry of Education, “Identifikovanie bariér implementácie úplného prístupu k výsledkom vedy a výskumu” (Identifying the barriers to the implementation of full access to the results of science and research), http://bit.ly/2aVgKlT (in Slovak)]. Their results suggested that there are no legal obstacles to OA and our copyright legislation does not pose any problem to OA. With very few exceptions of secret research areas, such as military research, OA policies can be implemented widely.
Since no substantial barriers to OA have been identified, commitment 35 to introduce the basic principles of OA to selected scientific publications that were created using public resources is a right step forward to encourage publishing research under open licenses and a signal of willingness to change status quo. While these analyses helped to map potential legal obstacles, it is also important to know the current data collection and publication practices in the academic and research sector.
Mapping practices is a vital precondition for commitment 38 to establish conditions for categorization of open research data under a public license. As to formulate right categorization conditions, it is essential to understand the practice first. This commitment also has a potential to change the status quo and increase publication of research data under open licenses, as it includes a monitoring element. Additionally, institutional compliance with these conditions will be monitored. Design systematic benchmarking monitoring mechanisms for the measurement and comparison (commitment 40) the understanding of how the institution produce, manage and store data is crucial. Therefore, the steps to fulfil the commitments are logical and sensible.
To ensure that the efforts in OA are coordinated, the Center of Scientific and Technical Information established Open Access Point of Contact[Note : Official website of the Open Access Point of Contact at the Center of scientific and technical information, http://bit.ly/2GgWIHf (in Slovak). ] which should serve as a guidance officer, providing practical information, expertise, and financial assistance in implementing OA in Slovakia. The previous IRM report recommended this measure as a critical step forward which could advance OA practices at universities, Slovak academy of sciences as well as private research institutions[Note : Mária Žuffová, Open Government Partnership, “Slovakia Special Accountability Report 2014 - 2015”, http://bit.ly/2EzH4Ws]. Establishing OA Point of Contact has probably the highest potential impact from commitments in this cluster as it contributes significantly to the implementation of other commitments.
The existence of the OA Point of Contact is also crucial for commitment 41 to raise awareness about OA in research communities. The OA Point of Contact realizes different outreach activities, for example, courses and webinars for librarians and academic who are interested in OA[Note : The Center for Scientific and Technical information, “Course: The basics of Open access 2018”, http://bit.ly/2EwCdEw (in Slovak). ], and conferences with international and local speakers[Note : The Center for Scientific and Technical information, “National workshop OpenAIRE – Program”, http://bit.ly/2PJZeVF (in Slovak). ]. The OA point of contact informs about its activities pro-actively on its website[Note : Official website of the Open Access Point of Contact at the Center of scientific and technical information, http://bit.ly/2GgWIHf (in Slovak). ]. It also provides international and domestic materials on OA. The interviewees also mentioned that the presence of the OA Point of Contact in the community is visible[Note : Interview with Zuzana Adamová (Creative Commons Slovensko and University of Trnava), 6 November 2018, See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ].
All interviewed stakeholders agreed that OA could bring substantial benefits to Slovak academic community and the commitments in this cluster have a potential to advance OA. Therefore, IRM researcher recommends continuing their implementation and ensuring that the OA Point of Contact has sufficient support and resources to do so.