Recently the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Development announced the development of an Open Science Policy Platform. In the European Commission context, Open Science is one of its Digital Government initiatives, but this Policy Platform is not technical infrastructure. It is a communications mechanism for stakeholders in open access, new digital tools for research and joint arts and research communities.
According to the press release, the Platform will be guided by a Steering Group appointed by the Directorate-General and representing stakeholder organizations. In turn the Platform advises the Commission on how best to implement its Open Science Agenda. It’s not clear to me whether there will be additional infrastructure created for the Platform, or if existing resources within the Directorate-General will be sufficient. This may become clearer once the Steering Group is appointed.
There are eight main policy topics identified in the press release for the Platform to begin work on next year. They are: rewards, altmetrics, Open Science Cloud, changing business models for publishing, research integrity, Citizen Science, open education and skills, and FAIR open data (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable). The Platform will create working groups on the first three topics in 2016, and start groups for the other topics after that in phases. And the Platform will not be restricted to these issues as it conducts its work.
What I appreciate about this approach is its systematic nature. Compared to how the U.S. is approaching at least the open access aspect of open science, the EU approach – if effectively implements – promises a greater sense of consistency across the Commission. The U.S. approach – at least from my perspective – leaves much to the agencies, and little explicit coordination or understanding of the government-wide effort.