Open Science: One Term, Five Schools of Thought

Authors: Benedikt Fecher & Sascha Friesike

Abstract: Open Science is an umbrella term encompassing a multitude of assumptions about the future of knowledge creation and dissemination. Based on a literature review, this chapter aims at structuring the overall discourse by proposing five Open Science schools of thought: The infrastructure school (which is concerned with the technological architecture), the public school (which is concerned with the accessibility of knowledge creation), the “measurement school”(which is concerned with alternative impact measurement), the “democratic school”(which is concerned with access to knowledge) and the “pragmatic school” (which is concerned with collaborative research).

It must be noted that our review is not solely built upon traditional scholarly publications but, due to the nature of the topic, also includes scientific blogs and newspaper articles. It is our aim in this chapter to present a concise picture of the ongoing discussion rather than a complete list of peer-reviewed articles on the topic. In the following, we will describe the five schools in more detail and provide references to relevant literature for each.

Citation: Fecher B & Friesike S. (2014). “Open Science: One Term, Five Schools of Thought”. In Opening Science. Amsterdam: Springer.



Toward the Geoscience Paper of the Future: Best practices for documenting and sharing research from data to software to provenance

Authors: Gil Yolanda, Cedric H. David, Ibrahim Demir, Bakinam T. Essawy, Robinson W. Fulweiler, Jonathan L. Goodall, Leif Karlstrom, Huikyo Lee, Heath J. Mills, Ji-Hyun Oh, Suzanne A. Pierce, Allen Pope, Mimi W. Tzeng, Sandra R. Villamizar, Xuan Yu

Abstract: Geoscientists now live in a world rich with digital data and methods, and their computational research cannot be fully captured in traditional publications. The Geoscience Paper of the Future (GPF) presents an approach to fully document, share, and cite all their research products including data, software, and computational provenance. This article proposes best practices for GPF authors to make data, software, and methods openly accessible, citable, and well documented. The publication of digital objects empowers scientists to manage their research products as valuable scientific assets in an open and transparent way that enables broader access by other scientists, students, decision makers, and the public. Improving documentation and dissemination of research will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery by improving the ability of others to build upon published work.

Citation: Gil, Y., et all (2016). Toward the Geoscience Paper of the Future: Best practices for documenting and sharing research from data to software to provenance. Earth and Space Science, 3, 388-415. 


Looking into Pandora’s Box: The Content of Sci-Hub and its Usage

Author: Bastian Greshake

Abstract: Despite the growth of Open Access, potentially illegally circumventing paywalls to access scholarly publications is becoming a more mainstream phenomenon. The web service Sci-Hub is amongst the biggest facilitators of this, offering free access to around 62 million publications. So far it is not well studied how and why its users are accessing publications through Sci-Hub. By utilizing the recently released corpus of Sci-Hub and comparing it to the data of  ~28 million downloads done through the service, this study tries to address some of these questions. The comparative analysis shows that both the usage and complete corpus is largely made up of recently published articles, with users disproportionately favoring newer articles and 35% of downloaded articles being published after 2013. These results hint that embargo periods before publications become Open Access are frequently circumnavigated using Guerilla Open Access approaches like Sci-Hub. On a journal level, the downloads show a bias towards some scholarly disciplines, especially Chemistry, suggesting increased barriers to access for these. Comparing the use and corpus on a publisher level, it becomes clear that only 11% of publishers are highly requested in comparison to the baseline frequency, while 45% of all publishers are significantly less accessed than expected. Despite this, the oligopoly of publishers is even more remarkable on the level of content consumption, with 80% of all downloads being published through only 9 publishers. All of this suggests that Sci-Hub is used by different populations and for a number of different reasons, and that there is still a lack of access to the published scientific record. A further analysis of these openly available data resources will undoubtedly be valuable for the investigation of academic publishing.

Citation:  Greshake B.Looking into Pandora’s Box: The Content of Sci-Hub and its Usage.” F1000Research 2017, 6:541. (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.11366.1) .


Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science

Authors: Rajiv Jhangiani, Robert Biswas-Diener (eds.)

Abstract: Affordable education. Transparent science. Accessible scholarship. These ideals are slowly becoming a reality thanks to the open education, open science, and open access movements. Running separate—if parallel—courses, they all share a philosophy of equity, progress, and justice. This book shares the stories, motives, insights, and practical tips from global leaders in the open movement.

Citation: Jhangiani R. & Biswas-Diener R. 2017. Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI:


Openness as social praxis

Authors: Matthew Longshore Smith, Ruhiya Seward

Abstract: Since the early 2000s, there has been an explosion in the usage of the term open, arguably stemming from the advent of networked technologies — including the Internet and mobile technologies. ‘Openness’ seems to be everywhere, and takes many forms: from open knowledge, open education, open data and open science, to open Internet, open medical records systems and open innovation. These applications of openness are having a profound, and sometimes transformative, effect on social, political and economic life.

This explosion of the use of the term has led to multiple interpretations, ambiguities, and even misunderstandings, not to mention countless debates and disagreements over precise definitions. The paper “Fifty shades of open” by Pomerantz and Peek (2016) highlighted the increasing ambiguity and even confusion surrounding this term. This article builds on Pomerantz and Peek’s attempt to disambiguate the term by offering an alternative understanding to openness — that of social praxis. More specifically, our framing can be broken down into three social processes: open production, open distribution, and open consumption. Each process shares two traits that make them open: you don’t have to pay (free price), and anyone can participate (non-discrimination) in these processes.

We argue that conceptualizing openness as social praxis offers several benefits. First, it provides a way out of a variety of problems that result from ambiguities and misunderstandings that emerge from the current multitude of uses of openness. Second, it provides a contextually sensitive understanding of openness that allows space for the many different ways openness is experienced — often very different from the way that more formal definitions conceptualize it. Third, it points us towards an approach to developing practice-specific theory that we believe helps us build generalizable knowledge on what works (or not), for whom, and in what contexts.

Citation: Smith, Matthew and Seward, Ruhiya. “Openness as social praxis” First Monday [Online], Volume 22 Number 4 (3 April 2017)


Open Science: a revolution in sight?

Author: Bernard Rentier

Abstract: Purpose
This paper aims to describe the evolution of scientific communication, largely represented by the publication process. It notes the disappearance of the traditional publication on paper and its progressive replacement by electronic publishing, a new paradigm implying radical changes in the whole mechanism. It aims also at warning the scientific community about the dangers of some new avenues and why, rather than subcontracting an essential part of its work, it must take back full control of its production.

The paper reviews the emerging concepts in scholarly publication and aims to answer frequently asked questions concerning free access to scientific literature as well as to data, science and knowledge in general.

The paper provides new observations concerning the level of compliance to institutional open access mandates and the poor relevance of journal prestige for quality evaluation of research and researchers. The results of introducing an open access policy at the University of Liège are noted.

Social implications
Open access is, for the first time in human history, an opportunity to provide free access to knowledge universally, regardless of either the wealth or the social status of the potentially interested readers. It is an essential breakthrough for developing countries.

Open access and Open Science in general must be considered as common values that should be shared freely. Free access to publicly generated knowledge should be explicitly included in universal human rights. There are still a number of obstacles hampering this goal, mostly the greed of intermediaries who persuade researchers to give their work for free, in exchange for prestige. The worldwide cause of Open Knowledge is thus a major universal issue for the twenty-first century.

Citation: Bernard Rentier, (2016) “Open science: a revolution in sight?”, Interlending & Document Supply, Vol. 44 Issue: 4, pp.155-160, doi: 10.1108/ILDS-06-2016-0020


What do Italian Researchers think about Open Research Data?

Authors: Fava, I & Gargiulo, P

Abstract: From August to December 2012, the OpenAIRE Italian National Open Access Desk conducted a survey to find out what researchers and all the people involved with research in universities and research centres were doing with reference to research data archiving, management and access policies. The aim was to produce an overview of the state of the art of research data production, management and sharing in Italy, and to investigate researchers opinions and attitudes towards a potential National infrastructure for data storage, curation and preservation. The survey addressed more than 1240 directors of research departments in universities and research institutions, who where then requested to disseminate the survey among their researchers.

Fava, I & Gargiulo, P. (2013). What do Italian Researchers think about Open Research Data? [Report]



The Scholix Framework for Interoperability in Data-Literature Information Exchange

Authors: Adrian Burton, Amir Aryani, Hylke Koers, Paolo Manghi, Sandro La Bruzzo, Markus Stocker, Michael Diepenbroek, Uwe Schindler, Martin Fenner


Abstract: The Scholix Framework (SCHOlarly LInk eXchange) is a high level interoperability framework for exchanging information about the links between scholarly literature and data, as well as between datasets. Over the past decade, publishers, data centers, and indexing services have agreed on and implemented numerous bilateral agreements to establish bidirectional links between research data and the scholarly literature. However, because of the considerable differences inherent to these many agreements, there is very limited interoperability between the various solutions. This situation is fueling systemic inefficiencies and limiting the value of these, separated, sets of links. Scholix, a framework proposed by the RDA/WDS Publishing Data Services working group, envisions a universal interlinking service and proposes the technical guidelines of a multi-hub interoperability framework. Hubs are natural collection and aggregation points for data-literature information from their respective communities. Relevant hubs for the communities of data centers, repositories, and journals include DataCite, OpenAIRE, and Crossref, respectively. The framework respects existing community-specific practices while enabling interoperability among the hubs through a common conceptual model, an information model and open exchange protocols. The proposed framework will make research data, and the related literature, easier to find and easier to interpret and reuse, and will provide additional incentives for researchers to share their data.


Citation: Burton, A, Aryani, A, Koers, H, Manghi, P, La Burzzo, S, Stocker, M, Diepenbroek, M, Schindler, U, Fenner, M. (2017) The Scholix Framework for Interoperability in Data-Literature Information Exchange D-Lib Magazine 23(1-2).




Joining Networks in the World of Open Science

Authors: Riitta Liisa Maijala


Abstract: Whereas the first digital revolution of science by digitisation changed the scientific practices of data collection, analysis and reporting of results, the second digital revolution, i.e. open science, will also challenge the current roles of researchers, research organisations, libraries and publishers. From the early days of development, research libraries have joined different networks and been among the most active stakeholders working towards open science. Cohesive networks are needed for coordinated actions and support, whereas bridging networks can provide new approaches and novel information. The Finnish Open Science and Research Initiative is presented in this paper as an example of joining networks, motivating individuals and organisations to deliver high-quality services, infrastructures and competence building to promote a transition towards open science. This paper also presents milestones such as the publication of the academic publishing costs of Finnish research organisations and the maturity level of open science operating cultures in HEIs. Based on the experience of the Finnish open science initiative, joining different networks at the national level on an open mode of operation can significantly speed up the transition towards the era of open science.


Citation: Maijala, R.L., (2016). Joining Networks in the World of Open Science. LIBER Quarterly. 26(3), pp.104–124. DOI: