Challenges of Open Science
The following are often mentioned as hurdles and disadvantages of Open Science:
- Many scientists do not yet openly share their research data. Even if Open Science research practices have not yet become widespread, and therefore some researchers worry about suffering competitive disadvantages when practicing Open Science, some positive effects from Open Science activities can already be seen. They include better visibility and citation rates as well as chances for your scientific career.
- The science system and/or its career opportunities are currently still primarily focused on the reputation (citations) of publications; Open Science will never become standard practice without a cultural change and the adjustment of the measurement, recognition and motivation design for diverse scientific performances to the digital age. For example, how often a research dataset is cited or reused is not collected at the moment. Activities in social media are also not represented very much, such as if researchers blog about their work or use other platform to carry out knowledge exchange, which is a core task of scientific work. A series of initiatives and institutions are responding to the change in this field, however.
- There is no control anymore about research data, thus the danger of possible misuse of the research data is associated. Even if you practice Open Science, 100% “open” cannot always be implemented. In some cases, there are good reasons for closed research, for example personalised research data. The data protection regulations apply here and corresponding data cannot simply be published or must be anonymised or summarised in advance. The use of FAIR principles for research data helps to make them accessible in a suitable way.
- The public could understand research results in the wrong way. Keeping research results closed cannot be the solution here. It’s better to display the research results in a transparent way and provide a lot of context information. With Open Data and Open Methodology, Open Science offers suitable paths for achieving this. And after all, the integration of the public in the research work itself (Citizen Science) can contribute to transparency and understanding.
- Low research quality. The fear of low research quality of research results published in Open Access is widespread. This possible problem can be handled by quality checking Open Access publications and excluding fake science proposals. At the same time, Open Science can make a contribution to raising the research quality by more feedback possibilities and Open Peer Review.
- Open Science means being locked in platform capitalism. A series of platforms and tools for Open Science, offered by public institutions such as libraries, exist to combat the fear that Open Science serves the commercialisation of science and that large digital platform companies dominate Open Science.