Skip to Main Content

Open Science and Citizen Science

Multimedia resources publicly available to learn more about Open Science and Citizen Science.

Understanding Open Science - Definition

Open Science: core principles, barriers, consequences of not engaging, key Sources of best practices

The core principles of Open Science

Open science aims to increase the accessibility, transparency, reliability and (re)usability of scholarly outputs (Figure 1). In addition, open science aligns with the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, with the aim of opening the creation, evaluation and communication of scientific knowledge to marginalised scholars and societal actors beyond the traditional scientific community. This can be achieved by implementing open science practices throughout the research lifecycle, from study design to publication, and beyond.

UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

The aim of this Recommendation is to provide an international framework for open science policy and practice that recognizes disciplinary and regional differences in open science perspectives, takes into account academic freedom, gender-transformative approaches, and the specific challenges of scientists and other open science actors in different countries and in particular in developing countries, and contributes to reducing the digital, technological and knowledge divides existing between and within countries. 2. This Recommendation outlines a common definition, shared values, principles and standards for open science at the international level and proposes a set of actions conducive to a fair and equitable operationalization of open science for all at the individual, institutional, national, regional, and international levels.3. To achieve its aim, the key objectives and areas of action of this Recommendation are as follows:

  1.  Promoting a common understanding of open science, associated benefits, and challenges, as well as diverse paths to open science;
  2.  Developing an enabling policy environment for open science;
  3.  Investing in open science infrastructures and services;
  4.  Investing in human resources, training, education, digital literacy, and capacity building for open science;
  5.  Fostering a culture of open science and aligning incentives for open science;
  6.  Promoting innovative approaches for open science at different stages of the scientific process;
  7. Promoting international and multi-stakeholder cooperation in the context of open science and with a view to reducing digital, technological, and knowledge gaps.

What is Open Science?

Open Science is the practice of science in such a way that others can collaborate and contribute, where research data, lab notes, and other research processes are freely available, under terms that enable reuse, redistribution and reproduction of the research and its underlying data and methods (FOSTER Open Science Definition). In a nutshell, Open Science is transparent and accessible knowledge that is shared and developed through collaborative networks (Vicente-Sáez & Martínez-Fuentes 2018).

Open Science is about increased rigor, accountability, and reproducibility for research. It is based on the principles of inclusion, fairness, equity, and sharing, and ultimately seeks to change the way research is done, who is involved and how it is valued. It aims to make research more open to participation, review/refutation, improvement and (re)use for the world to benefit.

There are several definitions of "openness" with regards to various aspects of science; the Open Definition defines it thus: “Open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose”. Open Science encompasses a variety of practices, usually including areas like open access to publications, open research data, open-source software/tools, open workflows, citizen science, open educational resources, and alternative methods for research evaluation including open peer review (Pontika et al., 2015).

Strategy for Culture Change


June 11th, 2019, Brian Nosek

Behavior change is hard.  Whatever its faults, the status quo is familiar and the warts are known.  The status quo is also easy to maintain. Just do nothing, inertia takes care of everything.  We even have a tendency to defend the status quo. We’d rather believe that the way it is, is the way it should be

Our mission at the Center for Open Science (COS) is to increase the openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research. Our behavior change targets are to get researchers to show their work and to share.  In the present culture, standard practice is that research teams operate independently and share their findings in publications that summarize what the team learned.  Usually, publications only share successes, and it isn’t possible to see what other things were tried to evaluate the credibility of the findings that are reported. In our future culture, standard practice would make the process of discovery transparent with researchers registering their plans to make all studies discoverable, and so that initial plans can be compared with the final outcomes and conclusions.  Also, in our future culture, by default, researchers would share the materials, protocols, and data that they produced in the research so that others could confirm, challenge, extend, or reuse the work. All these behavior changes are in service of accelerating science and reducing waste.

COS’s strategy for culture and behavior change requires five levels of intervention represented by the pyramid above. These levels are progressive, reflecting the fact that successful implementation of higher levels depends on successful implementation of lower levels. Infrastructure is the base of the pyramid making behavior change possible. We maintain the open-source Open Science Framework (OSF) for researchers to be able to show their work and share.  Researchers can register their studies, post their data and materials openly or with protected access for sensitive materials, and share their outcomes at any time to accelerate and ensure communication regardless of whether it will ever be published.  

Open Science Observatory (Europe)

An OpenAIRE service to:

  • Better understand the European open research landscape
  • Track trends for open access to publications, data, software
  • Reveal hidden potential on existing resources
  • View open collaboration patterns

Our methodological approach is based on the following operational quality criteria:

  • Openness and transparency: Methodological assumptions are openly and clearly presented.
  • Coverage and accuracy: As detailed in multiple data sources are ingested in the OpenAIRE research graph for coverage to the fullest extent possible, in order to provide meaningful indicators.
  • Clarity and replicability: We describe our construction methodology in detail so that it can be verified and used by the scholarly communication community to create ongoing updates to our proposed statistics and indicators.
  • Readiness and timeliness: The methodology is built around well-established open databases and already tested knowledge extraction technologies - natural language processing (NLP)/machine learning (ML) - using operational workflows in OpenAIRE to warrant timely results.
  • Trust and robustness: Our methodology also strives to be reliable, robust and aligned to other assessment methods so that it can be operationalized, used, and reused, in conjunction with other assessment methods.


OpenAIRE’s mission is closely linked to the mission of the European Commission: to provide unlimited, barrier free, open access to research outputs financed by public funding in Europe. OpenAIRE fulfils the EOSC vision substantially, as its operations already provide the glue for many of the user and research driven functionalities, whether these come from the long tail of science (repositories and local support) or domain disciplined research communities or Research Infrastructures.


SPARC is a non-profit advocacy organization that supports systems for research and education that are open by default and equitable by design. We believe everyone should be able to access and contribute to the knowledge that shapes our world. 

As a catalyst for action, our pragmatic agenda focuses on driving policy change, supporting member action, and cultivating communities that advance our vision of knowledge as a public good. From the local to the global level, SPARC works to address the ways in which our knowledge systems exclude people due to racism, colonialism, and other legacies of injustice.

SPARC’s membership includes about 250 libraries and academic organizations across North America. This membership is complemented by affiliated SPARC coalitions in AfricaEurope, and Japan and individual member organizations in Australia, Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia. Founded in 1998, SPARC operates as an independent project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. SPARC is known by its acronym, which stands for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. 

Open Science Explained



World Bank Group: World Bank | IFC | MIGA | ICSID


© 2024 The World Bank Group, All Rights Reserved


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO (Intergovernmental Organization) license .