The COVID-19 pandemic stresses the societal importance of open science

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'The current crisis has brought about an unprecedented level of openness in scientific publishing and collaboration. "At the same time, a great deal of relevant scientific information is still behind paywalls," open science experts say. What can the research community do to make relevant information publicly available?

COVID-19 has us all in its grip. Across the globe, researchers are working on solutions to the crisis that has taken us by surprise. This doesn’t just concern the medical aspects of the crisis: economic and psychosocial aspects are important as well. The social impact of the public measures taken to slow down the spread of the virus is a prime example of this.

Efficient collaboration among researchers and quick and effective sharing of insights are of vital importance. Early and open sharing of publications, datasets, software, code and other scientific material are therefore essential. This requires greater societal awareness about what one can and cannot do with all these types of scientific information. Creating such awareness is a joint responsibility of the scientific community and society at large.


On the designated page “Open Access for COVID-19 and related research” on open access.nl, you can find an overview of specific steps that are taken in the current crisis. It also contains recommendations on what is possible to increase barrier-free availability and use of scientific research, such as retrospectively making publications open access, and sharing preprints. This can be interesting for older research into coronaviruses and viruses in general, but also for many other research disciplines relevant to the crisis. In addition, researchers – and others – can contribute in various ways to collecting and enriching relevant research information..'

- The COVID-19 pandemic stresses the societal importance of open science, April 3, 2020


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