Open Scholar Foundation

This is a guest post from Tobias Kuhn of the Open Scholar Foundation. Please comment below or contact him via the link above if you have any feedback on this initiative!

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The goal of the Open Scholar Foundation is to improve the efficiency of scholarly communication by providing incentives for researchers to openly share their digital research artifacts, including manuscripts, data, protocols, source code, and lab notes.

The proposal of an “Open Scholar Foundation” was one of the winners of the 1K challenge of the Beyond the PDF conference. This was the task of the challenge:

What would you do with 1K that would significantly advance scholarly communication that does not involve building a new software tool?

The idea was to establish a committee that would certify researchers as “Open Scholars” according to given criteria. This was the original proposal:

I would set up a simple "Open Scholar Foundation" with a website, where researchers can submit proofs that they are "open scholars" by showing that they make their papers, data, metadata, protocols, source code, lab notes, etc. openly available. These requests are briefly reviewed, and if approved, the applicant officially becomes an "Open Scholar" and is entitled to show a banner "Certified Open Scholar 2013" on his/her website, presentation slides, etc. Additionally, there could be annual competitions to elect the "Open Scholar of the Year".

An alternative approach (perhaps more practical and promising) would be to provide a scorecard for researchers to calculate their “Open Scholar Score” on their own. There is an incomplete draft of such a scorecard in the github repo here.

In any case, his project should lead to an established and recognized foundation that motivates scholars to openly share their data and results. Being a certified Open Scholar should be something that increases one’s reputation and visibility, and should give a counterweight to possible benefits from keeping data and results secret. The criteria for Open Scholars should become more strict over time, as the number of “open-minded” scholars hopefully increases over the years. This should go on until, eventually, scholarly communication has fundamentally changed and does not require this special incentive anymore.

It is probably a good idea to use Mozilla Open Badges for these Open Scholar banners.

We are at the very beginning with this initiative. If you are interested in joining, get in touch with us! We are open to any kind of feedback and suggestions.

2 responses to Open Scholar Foundation

  1. I’m planning a strategic workshop on how to get Open Science off the ground in and around Germany.

    The focus will be on adapting funding and evaluation schemes to openness and on drafting a proposal on how to test the comparative efficiency of open versus traditional approaches to research.

    In that context, criteria such as the ones you propose to develop would certainly be useful.

    More via https://de.wikiversity.org/wiki/Benutzer:OpenScientist/Offenes_Antragschreiben/Rundgespr%C3%A4ch_2014 .

  2. We’d (Open Access Button team) would be interested in exploring this concept with you – we’ve been messing around with a similar type of idea also. We don’t have anything truly concrete yet but would love to explore further.

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