Open Science

Open Science

One of the main aims of the CRC806-Database infrastructure is to support, facilitate and implement Open Science principles where possible.

Open Science describes the on-going transitions in the way research is performed, researchers collaborate, knowledge is shared, and science is organized (European Commission 2015). It is enabled by digital technologies, and driven by:

  • the enormous growth of data,

  • the globalization and enlargement of the scientific community to new actors (e.g. citizen science), and

  • the need to address societal challenges.

Open Science is about making scientific research process and most importantly its output (data) accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, it is based on the following six open principles:

Open Data Making research data openly available, and reusable by applying open licenses.

Open Source Publishing the source code, of tools applied for the conduct of scientific analysis,for review and feedback by the community.

Open Access Making scientific publications accessible by the public.

Open Peer Review Transparent and comprehensible and quality assurance, by openly documented review and discussion of proposed research findings.

Open Methodology Detailed documentation of the application of methods including the whole process, for example software toolchains or experiment steps.

Open Educational Resources Free and open resources for teaching and learning. Such as MIT open course ware or Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

The main idea behind these six principles is to open up the scientific process. This involves not only opening up the final results of research, though this would be a good first step, because this is sadly not the case for now. In addition, however it aims also to shed light on the applied methods, tools, and data, that led to the research results. A main goal of open science is to facilitate reproducibility of research.

Granting access to publications and data may be a step toward open science, but it’s not enough to ensure reproducibility. Making computer code available is also necessary — but the emphasis must be on the quality of the programming (Hey et al. 2015).

The idea of a more open and accessible science is not really new, and absolutely makes sense, but policies and copyright law, for example, in the practical conduct of science led to the current restricted-access situation. Open Science began in the 1600s with the advent of the academic journal when the societal demand for access to scientific knowledge reached a point at which it became necessary for groups of scientists to share resources with each other so that they could collectively do their work (David 2004).

Creative Commons licensing

The CRC806-Database users are able to define Creative Commons (CC license information of the according dataset in a simple interface based on some few check boxes, see figure below. According to this information, the resulting CC license, including its logo, are applied to the resources and displayed on the dataset detail page.

It is possible to choose between possible CC licenses, by just answering five questions with Yes or No. As indicated also in the figure, Yes or No answers can be implemented by simple check boxes.



5 Star Open Data

To annotate, and in some sense also reward, the degree of openness of a dataset published in the CRC806-Database, the 5 Star linked open data scheme, introduced by Tim Berners-Lee was implemented. Each dataset is automatically reviewed according to the 5 Star linked open data definitions, and accordingly assigned a logo displaying the resulting number of Stars on the dataset detail page. A program routine implemented in the Extbase controller of the data catalog, checks the criterias for assigning the logo badges. The one star badge is assigned, if the dataset is assigned with a license, and at least one resource of the dataset is accessible to the public. The two star badge is assigned, if at least one resource is in structured form. That are for example, CSV, Excel, Shapefile, etc. resources. Three stars are assigned, if the data is available in an open format, for example CSV or OWS. Four stars are assigned if the metadata is assigned with linked URI’s, this is form example the case for OWS. And five stars are assigned if the data is available as Linked Data, for example as RDF or on a web page that contains RDFa markup of the actual data resource (not only the metadata).