The Amsterdam Call for Action in Open Science

6 April 2016

The Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science is published. A wide array of stakeholders, both at the Open Science conference in Amsterdam and at the Neth-ER seminar in Brussels, has delivered input. As Robert-Jan Smits, director-general of DG RTD, put it at the Open Science conference on 4 April: “after the Competitiveness Council of 27 May, we will know which member states are really committed to Open Science and which ones only paid lip service to it.”   

Let’s make it happen
Sander Dekker, State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands, opened the Open Science conference by conveying his high motivation to work on an Amsterdam Call for Action for Open Science. The system must be flipped and the agenda must be pushed, according to Dekker. This helps researchers to cross boundaries of disciplines, speeds up scientific processes and can make a difference between progress and stagnation. Science has a high wall around it, that keeps knowledge and data inside, and keeps the public out. Dekker pleaded for immediate action to do something about this: “let’s make it happen”.

Actions on a European level
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, is especially committed as Open Science is one of the three major priorities of his mandate. To make a transition towards a more open system happen, copyright needs clarification, Moedas stressed. He promised that a revision of the Copyright Directive is coming up that will include research exemptions. Furthermore, by 2020, the European Commission wants all European researchers to be able to deposit, access and analyse European scientific data through a European Open Science Cloud. In addition, the Open Science Policy Platform will soon be launched. This body is to advise the Commission on the policy actions required to optimally implement the Open Science Agenda. 

The Amsterdam Call for Action
A draft Call for Action was distributed among the participants of the conference. This draft focussed on twelve action items, divided into five topics:

  1. Removing barriers for open science; 
  2. Developing research infrastructures; 
  3. Fostering and creating incentives for open science; 
  4. Mainstreaming and further promoting open science policies; 
  5. Stimulating and embedding open science in science and society.

Sijbolt Noorda, ambassador for Open Science of the Netherlands Ministry, reminded the participants that there are 433 different Open Access policies in Europe and it is time to come to consensus on how we make the transition to a more harmonised system. We need to speed things up and get things done; translate promises into actions, Noorda argued. The Amsterdam Call for Action must be a strong and sharp document that can be the basis for concerted actions. In break-out sessions participants went to work on the draft Call for Action. At the end of the day the Amsterdam Call for Action was presented to Dekker. 

Discussion at Neth-ER
Parallel to the conference in Amsterdam, Neth-ER organised an Open Science debate in Brussels to allow Brussels based stakeholders who could not attend the Amsterdam conference to join the debate. Together with the European Commission, the stakeholders debated Moedas’ ambitions for Open Science and how different stakeholders could contribute to fulfilling these ambitions. The outcomes of this debate were gratefully accepted by Sijbolt Noorda as input for the Amsterdam Call for Action. 

The outcomes of the Open Science Presidency Conference will provide input for the Council Conclusions that will be drafted for the Competitiveness Council  on 26-27 May. Also, the European Commission will announce the members of the Open Science Policy Platform at the same Competitiveness Council. An action plan to establish a European Open Science Cloud will be made public in the next few days.

More information
Publication EU2016NL: Amsterdam Call for Action
Article Neth-ER: An Open Science Action Agenda: From Vision to Action
Press release European Commission: Speech by Commissioner Carlos Moedas in Amsterdam, NL: "Open science: share and succeed"
Press release VSNU: VSNU pleased with European action plan Open Science
Website EU2016NL: Open Science Conference (presentations of the conference are available here)
News article EU2016NLEuropees actieplan voor Open Science

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