One frequent argument that is made by researchers and Open Science advocates alike is that changes to the scientific process need to come from where the rewards are: funding. However, any shifts in how funding applications are assessed and what types of research practices are rewarded are unlikely to happen if the people who work for funding organisations are not aware of what Open Science is and why it is important. The aim of the ORION Open Science Workshop for Funders was to help funders become more informed and confident about incorporating Open Science tools into funding.
The workshop was held in Madrid, hosted by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III. ORION Training Developer Dr Emma Harris, from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) , and Dr Damjana Kastelic, who is a Training Coordinator at Centre for Genomic Regulation and who works on the FOSTER+ project, collaborated to deliver a full day workshop. The day was packed with interactive activities which allowed participants to share their own ideas as well as learn about new concepts. Topics included; routes to open access, data management plans as a way to promote the best use of data, and alternative metrics in evaluation criteria that could reward public engagement and citizen science.
A concern that several participants raised was that big changes towards Open Science would take a long time to implement in funding organisations. The answer Emma and Damjana gave was twofold: firstly, a number of funders have already started to introduce Open Science concepts in their processes e.g. Wellcome Trust and several other UK funders now accept pre-prints in applications and the ORION project itself is actively funding Citizen Science projects. Secondly, each individual can only be expected to do so much, if we all take small steps towards promoting Open Science then together we can make a huge impact.