On 22nd to 23rd of November 2017 the MUNIN conference on scholarly publishing has taken place at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø. The conference is an annual event primarily focussing on Open Access, Open Data and Open Science. We took the chance to present the EU-project HIRMEOS and to learn more about what is being done in northern Europe to advocate and promote Open Science.
The conference offered a rich and well-structured programme with participants from across Europe and from different kinds of communities, including scholars, university library officers, scholarly publishers and research administrators. The advisory board and the organising committee found a convincing balance between presentations with different concepts and ideals of Open Access and Open Science: Together with speakers intending the Open Science paradigm as a radical alternative to the current logic of scholarly research and publishing, there were also scientific publishers interested in presenting their tools and services for scholarly research.
Different Views on Open Access and Open Science
The conference was opened by Sir Timothy Gowers, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, Fields Medal Winner and initiator of the boycott against Elsevier, who discussed the various incentives that give the current system its robustness and made some suggestions on how to weaken it (Perverse incentives: how the reward structures of academia impede scholarly communication and good science). Nevertheless, Federica Rosetta of Elsevier presented the publisher’s services to support the reproducibility of research results (The reproducibility challenge – what researchers need). It would have been interesting to bring such different views on Open Access and Open Science into direct confrontation within a round table. However, the audience participated lively in the discussions and gave the speakers the opportunity to further articulate their positions.
On Open Science in the Scandinavian world
Among the talks dealing with the dissemination of Open Science in the Scandinavian world, we were particularly impressed by Beate Ellend’s speech on the activities of the Swedish Research Council (Coordination of Open Access to Research publications in Sweden). Sweden seems to have a well-structured plan to outline an overview of the national open science. In its Proposal for National Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Information (2015), the Swedish Research Council has identified a number of obstacles to the transition to an Open Access publication system. On this basis, the Swedish National Library initiates and coordinates five studies to be carried out in the period 2017-2019. One of these concerning Open Access to academic monographs is expected by the HIRMEOS consortium great interest. Like the Landscape Study on Open Access and Monographs (2017) presented by Niels Stern, such studies can confirm how important it is to base concrete policies for Open Science on a precise reconstruction of the needs and problems of individual scholars and research institutions.
On HIRMEOS and OPERAS
HIRMEOS discussed its tasks and activities with many participants at its poster. The project is already well known to the public, especially to officers of academic libraries and university presses. We observed an increasing interest in the growing research infrastructure OPERAS. Some projects presented at MUNIN has already contact points with the concept of a distributed research infrastructure; e.g. SCOSS: A Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services presented by Vanessa Proudman. This new global coalition is currently in the middle of a pilot project. It intends to enable the international research community to take responsibility for developing and maintaining Open Science services through its institutions and funding organizations. It will create a new coordinated cost-sharing framework to ensure that non-commercial OS services supporting the development of broader global Open Access and Open Science will continue to be maintained in the future.
The participants of the conference we came into contact with were particularly interested in the annotation and name-based entities recognition services which HIRMEOS is implementing on the five digital platforms involved into the projects. Some relevant applications of the entity recognition techniques will already be presented at the beginning of the next year.