"Support and develop a new scientific culture": Université PSL's charter for Open Science
On May 5, 2020, the heads of Université PSL voted the "Open Science" charter of the university, thus demonstrating their commitment to free access to scientific publications and open data. This charter provides the university with a new framework to support the development of scientific culture. We interviewed Véronique Stoll (Director of the Library at Observatoire de Paris - PSL, Open Science Officer for PSL and co-director of the Data College in the Committee for Open Science (CoSO)), and Anne-Marie Turcan-Verkerk (Director of Studies at the EPHE - PSL and in charge of the documentation and dissemination of knowledge at Université PSL).
PSL: Open Science is a movement that has been growing steadily since the 1990s. Could you give us a definition of it and describe its principles?
Open Science therefore aims to develop the unhindered dissemination of scientific research results, raw data, software and source codes, as long as they are publicly funded
V. S: Open Science can be defined as a movement to promote more sharing and transparency in science. For convenience, it is often reduced to publications and research data, but in reality it covers the whole process of research, up to its dissemination to society and it concerns all disciplines, at the global level.
Open Science therefore aims to develop the unhindered dissemination of scientific research results, raw data, software and source codes, as long as they are publicly funded (very broadly speaking, one could summarize as follows : public money? public data!). Science becomes thus easier to access and is also intended to be more transparent, more ethical, more civic-minded and more efficient by avoiding the loss of knowledge.
AMT: This is no fad: the first founding declarations took place in the years 2002-2003 and ArXiv, the open archive of pre-publications, opened in 1991! However, since 2016, this phenomenon is accelerating and slipping from incitement to obligation. We should mention the law for a digital republic (2016), the National Program for Open Science (2018), and the policies taken by the main French and European donors (ANR, H2020 ...).
Open science federates multiple interests, both political ("return on investment" of a science heavily funded by public money), scientific (improving access to results and data and their use) and from citizens (strengthening the credibility and link between researchers and the nation at a time of fake news!).
PSL: Why is a charter for Open Science released by Université PSL ?
PSL's charter sets realistic and achievable goals, and will be further developped as institutions implement the open science principles. Above all, we mean to support and develop this new scientific culture!
V. S: A university such as PSL has every advantage in integrating open science into its scientific strategy because it allows to:
- broaden the dissemination of our research results and increase our academic visibility;
- facilitate the transfer and reuse of the new knowledge we generate ;
In France and abroad, the positioning of research institutions in favor of open access has become a major strategic issue, which contributes greatly to strengthening their visibility and reputation. For example, the Déclaration de la Sorbonne was adopted by the world's main academic research networks at a summit in Paris in January 2020: it advocates data sharing and firmly calls on governments to take the adequate policies and to elaborate a clear legal framework.
PSL's charter is mainly organized around free access to publications and the appropriate management of research data.
It sets realistic and achievable goals, and will be further developped as institutions implement the open science principles. Above all, we mean to support and develop this new scientific culture!
Quality research requires quality documentation. Access to publications is a guarantee of excellence in research & education and of scientific integrity, which the university promotes vigorously.
AMT: Most PSL institutions are already fully aware of the challenges of open science, and that is why they wanted to declare their common position and further support their communities in the movement in favor of full open data. In some disciplines, this action is coming up against both the interests of big commercial publishing houses and the evaluation criteria that require to publish articles in some particular journals that are not open access. Gradually, the full integration of open science in the scientific strategy of universities will lead to change the policy to evaluate researchers, which are increasingly qualitative and linked to open access to research results, and will thus incite publishers to find new economic models.
While we are experiencing the lockdown, we see the urgency of such a development: currently, students and academics do not all have the same access to documents, and not all communities can read the same bundles - extremely expensive - of journals, books or databases that each university takes. Yet the quality of research depends closely on the extent and quality of scientific information and, in some fields, on the speed with which the results obtained by the teams are made available. Quality research requires quality documentation, and also quality online documentation: everyone must have access to it. Access to publications - and therefore, if possible, their openness to all - is a guarantee of excellence in research and education and of scientific integrity, which the university promotes vigorously.
PSL: The charter provides for the opening of an open archive portal HAL- PSL. Could you remind us the principles of the open archive portals and how interesting they are for the scientific community?
PSL will have its own portal, which will enable all its communities, without exception, to reference and upload their works. This prospect is exciting for PSL, because the HAL portal will disseminate documents to read, see and hear - everything that makes up its rich identity: artistic as well as scientific production, in all its forms.
V. S: HAL (Hyper Archive en Ligne) is the national open archive of reference, designed to stock and disseminate under free access the scientific works. Supported by the main research organizations, it has become essential for the referencing of the French scientific production, all disciplines combined. For a researcher, upload their work in an open archive such as HAL will increase its visibility and its scientific impact, and thus the work will be better optimized for search engines such as google/google scholar. It is estimated that an article that becomes available in open access has 50% further probability to be cited.
HAL offers services which contribute to accelerate the work of the researchers: CV, extraction for activity reports, annual activity reports of CNRS researchers... HAL finally offers guarantees in terms of archiving and perenniality of the stocked files.
A.M.T: In France, we are fortunate to have the national open archive, HAL, maintained by the CCSD. It allows everyone to upload their entire production, and to stock the full text of their articles and books, as well as audio-visual content. HAL generates identifiers for these contents, and produces automatically metadata (e.g. tables of contents), which will then allow users to search the open archive with names of authors, places, concepts, on a whole set of keywords. The open archive thus becomes a fully developed search tool. It is therefore in everyone's interest to upload not only references, but also the entire search results.
This is why the opening of a HAL-PSL portal is essential today: until now, PSL only had a HAL collection that was harvesting the portals of its component schools. From now on, the university will have its own portal, which will enable all its communities, without exception, to reference and upload their works. This prospect is exciting for PSL, because the HAL portal will disseminate documents to read, see and hear - everything that makes up its rich identity: artistic as well as scientific production, in all its forms.
PSL: In the Open Science Charter you recall the University's commitment to carry out the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles. What support can the university offer to the scientific community for the enforcement of these principles?
V.S: The acronym FAIR, core of the international data policies, includes a set of four principles to ensure good management of research data.
There is indeed an urgent need to address the preservation and proper management of data, whose volumes are constantly growing. The aim is to avoid the loss data, which is often unique and which was produced with a great deal of public resources (financial and human) invested, by making them as widely accessible as possible to the community; the free dissemination offers the community both a saving of time and money, if people wishes to reuse the work, and the possibility to control and verify results published in scientific journals.
Awareness of the FAIR principles, and of its constituent elements such as perennial identifiers, is already being raised today both within the Doctoral School and in the PSL Schools, through appropriate training, sometimes pooled, generally provided by libraries.
Therefore, our priority will be to disseminate the culture of data management, to advocate and to provide practical support to researchers throughout the research cycle, taking into account disciplinary specificities. Data management requires many professional skills: researchers, computer scientists, lawyers, librarians, archivists...
Data management and dissemination is a science in its own!
A.M.T: MINES ParisTech - PSL, in connection with the Paris URFIST and the PSL Doctoral College, coordinates at PSL the education of students, as well as researchers and all staff, in the publication process, archiving in HAL, and the scientific integrity.
With the opening of the HAL-PSL portal, the department of Documentation and knowledge dissemination will support the communities which do not yet have a HAL coordinator and will offer an individual follow-up to all those who will need it to upload and reference their works. This personalized help, taking into account the specificities of each person, will enable PSL to obtain an open archive that is truly representative, making available all the university's productions, and which will thus be a quality work tool for all Internet users.
The Open Science charter of Université PSL
Université PSL intends to promote high-quality research with strong scientific integrity, making results and data as widely accessible as possible. It is fully committed to an "open" science that supports the sharing of knowledge for the validation and integrity of scientific practices, as well as the technology transfer and reuse of data produced during research projects.
Université PSL fully adheres to the Jussieu Call for Open Science and Bibliodiversity (2017), the National Plan for Open Science (PNSO) published by Ministry of Higher Education and Research in 2018, and the CNRS Roadmap published in November 2019, which set the national ambitions and objectives for the opening of scientific results. PSL supports the initiatives of its component schools in this field and adopted an open science charter to ensure wide dissemination of research results and increase their academic visibility.