Heading for Open Science – filling the knowledge gap

FOSTER is an EC-funded project aiming to help young researchers learn about Open Science, OA and more.

Young researchers today are at ease with digital learning and research, and the resources they find at their 'digital fingertips'.  There is a lot to gain through open access to these research outputs and data - the explicit goal of the European Commission's Horizon 2020, the framework programme for research and innovation, which started this year.

The research process raises a number of key questions.  What kind of materials are out there for reuse? How and where can findings and related materials be shared? What kind of use and reuse is actually permitted? 

FOSTER (Foster Open Science Training for European Research), a European Commission-funded project, sets out to fill this knowledge gap.  It will offer opportunities to learn more about the practices of open access, open data and open science, especially for young researchers, across all fields.

FOSTER is currently inviting volunteers to host training sessions, workshops and summer schools targeting graduate schools at European universities, research communities from different fields, research administrators, librarians, and other stakeholders. Co-funding will be made available to a range of events with the aim of collecting and sustaining these presentations and resources for later online use.

The FOSTER training strategy will include face-to-face training, blended and self-learning, as well as the dissemination of training materials, content and curricula. FOSTER will not start 'from scratch' but will leverage the European and international community in academia and beyond who share these goals.

The training will provide participants with a clear definition and vision of what open science and open access are and will include examples of good practice in research and teaching.  The training will also cover the importance of funder policies and the rules they set out for the dissemination of research outputs, in open access repositories and through publication in open access journals.  Behaviour and role models vary across fields.  Some will favour publishing in open access journals, while others will prefer to deposit their papers in open repositories. The same goes for research data, where astronomers freely share observational data and social scientists turn to national data infrastructures.  In the Arts and Humanities, data services may simply evolve.

To this end, FOSTER will facilitate a wide range of training – supplemented by a collection of learning and training materials, and a helpdesk, on its platform. New materials will evolve from training sessions and in addition, a certification of training units for post-graduate curricula will be explored. For all these, close collaboration with a wide range of partners is foreseen, from the project partners such as European universities and associations who have experience in open access policies and practices, digital curation, as well as infrastructure and services for research data.

The project will continue for 24 months and can be found on Twitter @fosterscience. To find out more, see the website or contact Eloy Rodrigues, University of Minho, eloy@sdum.uminho.pt.

Image courtesy of Gemmerich via Flickr.