The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on ‘Science 2.0’, in order to gauge the trend towards a more open, data-driven and people-focused way of doing research and innovation. Researchers are using digital tools to get thousands of people participating in research, for example by asking them to report if they catch flu in order to monitor outbreaks and predict possible epidemics. Scientists are being more open too: sharing their findings online at an early stage, comparing and debating their work to make it better. Increasingly, scientific publications are available online for free. By some estimates, 90 percent of all available data in the world has been generated in the past two years, and scientific data output is growing at a rate of 30 percent per year.
The consultation will look at awareness of and participation in these trends, as well as get views on the opportunities created by ‘Science 2.0’ to strengthen the competitiveness of European science and research. The deadline for responses is 30 September 2014.
European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “Science 2.0 is revolutionising the way we do science – from analysing and sharing data and publications to cooperating across the globe. It is also allowing citizens to join in the search for new knowledge. The whole scientific process is becoming more transparent and efficient, but this also poses questions about integrity and quality – so we want to hear people’s views on how we can guarantee that Science 2.0 develops in a way that is positive for Europe.”
Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President responsible for the Digital Agenda, said: “Now digital technology and tools offer the chance for a new transformation: improving research and innovation and making them more relevant for citizens and society. We are moving towards open, digital science – a trend that is gradual but unstoppable. That trend, and the desire to embrace it, comes, not from politicians, but from the scientific and academic communities themselves. And I am determined to support it.”
The European Commission has already integrated some aspects of ‘Science 2.0’ into its policy. In particular, open access to scientific publications is mandatory for research under Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation programme. A Pilot on Open Research Data has also been launched. Through its research programmes, the EU also funds a number of citizen science projects and supports some of the e-infrastructure that makes Science 2.0 possible.
Figure: On-going changes impacting the entire research cycle, from inception to evaluation and publication
The consultation, as well as background information, can be found at the European Commission website: Your voice in Europe (http://ec.europa.eu/research/science-2.0). You can follow the debate on social media as well, with hashtag #Science20.
‘Science 2.0’ is rapidly gaining momentum globally as a result of digital technologies and in response to current weaknesses in science, including the slow and costly scientific publication process, criticism of the peer review system and the challenge of reproducing research results due to lack of re-useable and replicable data.
This is taking place in the context of major, interconnected trends:
- a significant increase in scientific production and a trend towards open access to scientific information and open research collaboration (remote collaboration of scientists);
- steady increase in the number of actors in science (today, the world has the largest number of scientists ever) and greater involvement of citizens in research (in the research itself or as funders or agenda setters);
- new ways of doing science thanks to the availability of large-scale datasets (90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years) and constant growth in computational power.
Horizon 2020: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/
Digital Agenda: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/