EARMA 2024: Short report on our session “Bridging the Gap: Open Science in Research Management and Administration”

Open Science is inevitably part of that changing world. But in how far do RMA and Open Science experts collaborate to support researchers with their Open Science challenges? The Open Science session “Bridging the Gap: Open Science in Research Management and Administration”, organised by partners of ENLIGHT RISE (Inge van Nieuwerburgh, Ghent University; Merle Schatz, University of Göttingen; Birgit Schmidt, University of Göttingen) and EU+ (Amélie Church, Sorbonne University), initiated the conversation.

While Open Science has been a pivotal topic in libraries for decades, RMA has only recently begun to play a more prominent role in supporting and advancing the principles of Open Science. This shift is influenced by the development of policies promoting Open Science and the reform of research assessment practices. In this context, RMA professionals find themselves tasked with acquiring sufficient knowledge about Open Science to assist researchers and incorporate Open Science principles into policy development. Participants of the session engaged in three roundtable discussions, each focusing on key aspects of Open Science integration in RMA: 1. Incentives and Rewards, 2. Collaboration between OS Experts and Research Administration, and 3. Training and Skilling. Taking into account the limited time of 15 minutes to discuss a topic at each table, a wide range of impressions that are indicative but might not be representative emerged from the discussions.

Incentives and Rewards: During this roundtable discussion, attendees delved into practical strategies for incentivizing and acknowledging researchers who embrace Open Science principles, while also addressing pertinent concerns. It is imperative for the advancement of the uptake of Open Science in research assessment that both research assessment and Open Science experts synergize efforts, establishing a common ground to explore potential avenues. The accounts shared by participants varied widely. While some are actively engaged and have established platforms dedicated to the Open Science discourse, others face hurdles in collaboration due to resource constraints, time limitations, and insufficient managerial support. Interestingly, there was no mention of the integration of Open Science indicators into research assessment or the utilization of open infrastructure and data for evaluation purposes. However, there were references to involvement in initiatives like CoARA and the integration of DORA principles. Additionally, some participants highlighted existing university awards as effective tools for raising awareness and fostering community engagement. Yet, there remains skepticism among some regarding the efficacy of such awards, underscoring the necessity of cultivating a culture that comprehends the significance of Open Science and its implications. A common thread throughout the discussions underscored the importance of acknowledging and incentivizing researchers for their endeavors in promoting Open Science principles.

Collaboration between OS Experts and Research Administration: Challenges such as differing objectives were discussed and strategies how to deal with that were introduced. Successful collaborations showed the importance of aligning the goals of both groups. These strategies ranged from bottom-up approaches to specialized training sessions. It became evident that spatial proximity, for example simply being in the same building, between both groups plays a role, as well as organized meeting sessions to exchange needs and possibilities. Those participants that could build on well organized collaboration supported by the institution´s directors also were quite positive regarding OS developments.

Training and Skilling: The need for training and upskilling RMAs in Open Science principles was discussed at table 3. Participants identified various training methods including sessions organized by libraries and online courses as effective means of equipping RMAs with the necessary knowledge and skills. Emphasis was placed on understanding Open Science principles and their practical implementation in research management processes. The three sessions were very inspiring as they brought together participants from diverse experiences, institutional backgrounds, and countries. Sharing ideas that emphasize the pivotal role RMAs play in advancing Open Science was very helpful. The participants left with fresh insights and renewed motivation to continue their Open Science tasks.