EARMA Conference Prague 2023


Towards Open Science and More Transparency (An Interactive Presentation)

Role of an Open Science Support Desk


Dr Gerben ter Riet


  • E
    Ellis Hensen
  • A
    Anne de Jong
  • S
    Sumit Mehra
  • N
    Nelleke Stibbe


EARMA Conference Prague 2023

Format: Oral 60 Minutes

Topic: Open Science & Responsible Research & Innovation

Session: 🔵 2️⃣ Towards Open Science and More Transparency by Gerben ter Riet

Tuesday 25 April 11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. (UTC)


At the Faculty of Health, Sports & Nutrition at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences we run an open science support desk since 2019. The five desk members support around 120 researchers with retrieving the history of their research question (systematic reviews), research privacy issues (GDPR), study methodology/statistics and data management (FAIR). Our work is inspired by the literature on Avoidable Research Waste, the Replication Crisis, the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (2018) and other open science initiatives. These sources were used to compose a 14-item checklist that is elaborated upon in 14 corresponding chapters of an open science research manual through a clickable infographic. Challenges exist and will be discussed. First, much research takes place under enormous time pressures and quality-ensuring activities are not always passionately embraced. Second, project leaders tend to send their juniors to the helpdesk, but seem to avoid discussions themselves about open science principles. Third, it is hard to firmly embed the open science principles in institutional policy and to ensure that policies, if in place, are adhered to. Fourth, the collaboration between support staff at the central level and that at the faculty level needs careful attention. Finally, recognition and reward systems are geared towards immediate impact of results, media coverage and less to reflection and quality assurance. As a result of university-wide presentations and discussions, a second faculty (Society and Justice) has recently set up a research support desk. Take away messages: 1. Sharing is so much more valuable if what is shared has high quality. 2. Open science entails end-user involvement, open access publishing, FAIR data storage, and methodologic transparency. 3. Automated monitoring of open science characteristics of an institute's research output may support growth in the right direction, paying attention to a fostering shared research values and aims, thus avoiding the monitoring process being perceived as judgmental. 4. Institutional recognition and reward systems must be aligned to open science work styles to bring about change quicker. 5. Funding bodies have enormous power to steer researchers towards open science work styles and should not forget the transparency topics involved, such as for example preregistration of study protocols and data analysis plans.