July 7, 2022 | Online

In the inaugural meeting of the UNESCO Working Group on Open Science Infrastructures, Kaitlin Thaney, our Executive Director, shared some of our latest work and plans towards making open infrastructure the default in research.

The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, adopted by its General Assembly in November 2021, encouraged its Member States to “prioritize investing in infrastructure and services which contribute to open science”. To facilitate input into the technical deliverables for implementation, UNESCO convened an ad-hoc Working Group, bringing together experts, organizations, and institutions in open science and open infrastructure to build a better understanding of the current open infrastructure ecosystem.

This first working group meeting was moderated by Ezra Clark and Ana Persic of the UNESCO Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Section. The following speakers shared insights and their work in understanding the current open science infrastructure landscape:

In her invited talk, Kaitlin highlighted our research into public financial data to improve our collective understanding of capital flow in the open infrastructure landscape. We have been exploring some of the financial analysis instruments used in adjacent sectors and pairing them with the values and principles frame that we and many others in the open infrastructure space have been working with, with the aim to surface additional funding and sustainability recommendations and elements that may flag risk for both open infrastructure providers and funders.

She also shared some of the funding mechanisms and models we are investigating. In particular, we are looking to study the feasibility of and pilot investment models that:

  • Set values-aligned conditions
  • Provides additional flexibility
  • Defy traditional timelines
  • Catalyse and incentivize collective investment from diverse supporters

We look to draw from existing mechanisms such as participatory budgeting, programme-related and outcome-based investment mechanisms, and build with financial experts as well as experienced stakeholders in the open infrastructure and adjacent sectors.

Kaitlin’s slides can be accessed at this link. You can also see her presentation from 43:31 in the embedded recording of the meeting below.

Further information and materials from the meeting are available on the UNESCO Open Science Working Groups website.

Meeting participants discussed ways to ensure that open science infrastructure will serve the needs of a global community, in particular, those of the people of the global majority and citizen scientists. These include actively creating bridges between the Global South and North, actively listening to citizen science groups, local capacity building, and building robust, meaningful governance structures to ensure stakeholder-driven development of open infrastructure.

The Working Group will work on indexing open infrastructure services in UNESCO priority areas of biodiversity, water, disaster risk reduction, geology, and oceans, and creating a checklist for open science infrastructures. It will reconvene in a few months, with the goal to present its progress towards these deliverables in December at the World Science Forum in Cape Town, South Africa.

Social media image by Robynne Hu on Unsplash.

Posted by Emmy Tsang