Taking Open Science ideas and putting them into practice is a challenge. Even at institutional level there are many different stakeholders with different motivations and challenges who need to support Open Science initiatives. At a national level, these challenges are even greater with many institutions and governing bodies needing to find common ground. This is a challenge that has been taken up in the ORION project and the Czech partner CEITEC - the Central European Institute of Technology, set about changing the way that their institution engaged in Open Science.
As CEITEC began to look at their own Open Science policies, they noticed that there was very little guidance from a national level. As an institution, this made it more difficult for them to produce a coherent Open Science strategy as there was always a question mark over how it would align on a national level, as well as with other institutions within the Czech Republic. The CEITEC team realised that other institutions within the Czech Republic would face the same issues trying to implement Open Science so they decided to tackle the problem head on.
They knew that there needed to be a Czech action plan for Open Science that could help to provide practical guidance for institutions within the country to implement Open Science by following an agreed upon set of guidelines. This had been actively discussed by the Research and Innovation Council for many years and a decision had been taken to make an action plan, although nothing had been agreed upon. The CEITEC team, together with the Open Access Initiative of the Association of Academy Libraries (AKVŠ) and Horizon 2020 Information Desk from Technology Centre of Academy of Science saw that the key stakeholders were waiting for the opportunity to communicate about the topic openly together. There were many reasons for this action, such as time commitments and differing levels of commitment to Open Science in general. It seemed important that everyone who was impacted by Open Science or who could have an influence on a National Action Plan needed to meet and be allowed to speak about the topic.
The ORION National Stakeholder Workshop organized by CEITEC took place in 2018 in Prague. The workshop was attended by almost 50 participants representing funders, companies, scientists, policy makers, students, journalists and Open Science enthusiasts. It was a unique meeting to address selected topics of Open Science – Open Access, Open Research Data, Open Infrastructure, Citizen Science and Policies and Institutions.
The diversity of attendees from different stakeholder groups made this workshop logistically difficult to organize. Despite this difficulty, the workshop it was a resounding success. Thanks to the perseverance and organization from the CEITEC team, it was possible to use the national workshop to consolidate the views and needs of a wide variety of stakeholders and to draw a consensus. This consensus was then compiled and ultimately became the Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Strategy of the Czech Republic’s Open Access to Scientific Information for 2017–2020.
The Czech Republic had these Action National Plan from 2019 till 2020, which helped drive changes on the national and institutional levels. From 2021, the next steps of Open Science actions in the Czech Republic have a place in the newly developed Strategy of Research and Innovation 2021+. The CEITEC team, through the ORION project, helped develop these principles for the Czech Republic and is taking the recommendations to draft and implement them, including archiving data and defining the responsibilities for Open Science within the institution.
Please get in touch with Mariana Tesarová, Project Manager at CEITEC, if you would like to know more about the inspiring story.