Open Science Programme

Open science represents a shift in the conduct of science and research activities. Open science is driven and enabled by multiple factor such as digital technologies, globalisation, the growth of the scientific community, the increase in collaborative research activities, and the need to address the grand challenges of our time.

These developments have already begun to change the higher education and research world – researchers, students, and university managers now have access to huge (and increasing) volumes of information from their desktops or mobile devices. In addition, the funding and policy environment now places much greater emphasis on data and information sharing and accessibility.

In light of these developments, higher education must embed the required strategies, culture and skills for accessing, sharing and exploiting data and information, globally.

The ACU’s work in this area is concerned with supporting member institutions to meet the changing social and technical requirements for the academic enterprise in the digital era. We currently focus on two core areas:

  • Open research data – supporting the development of social and technical bridges that enable open sharing of research data, to ensure that research data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable

  • Open access and publishing – supporting the academic publishing community in their strategies around the availability and exploitation of academic research journals.

Participants at the Publishers for Development conference

Publishers and librarians network at a Publishers for Development event in 2013

Ongoing projects

  • Research Data Alliance Europe (RDA-Europe) is the European plug-in to RDA Global, an international member-based organisation launched in 2013 to build the social and technical bridges that enable open sharing of data. The ACU has been a key partner in the launch and organisation of RDA Europe since 2012, working on discreet projects with varying focuses. RDA-Europe 3 is ongoing until 2017, and focuses on global policy engagement.

  • Publishers for Development was established in 2008 by the ACU in partnership with International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to bring the academic publishing community together.

Completed projects

  • Growing knowledge was a study commissioned by Arcadia in 2009-2011 to explore access and usability of online journals by researchers in sub-Saharan Africa. It provided recommendations for librarians, ICT staff, university managers and external support and funding organisations, suggesting practical ways in which they can help to strengthen research and teaching by encouraging greater use of available online resources.