What do you see as the greatest advantages of open science?

Photo of Ilona Koupil, professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University

I find a timely and free access to latest research results to be very important for all researchers, research students and users of research evidence. I also find it very important for researchers to be able to disseminate the results of their work very widely and to make new findings accessible to different audiences in a timely manner.

What kinds of practical applications within open science do you see as the most meaningful for good research practice?

Recent initiatives to encourage and support open access publication in scientific journals has made research more efficient. In my field of public health, open access publication also assures that benefits from research are shared more widely, and new evidence from research can be implemented for the benefit of population health in all social groups and in all geographical regions.

What do you see as the greatest challenges in practicing open science?

There are still substantial costs associated with access to some research evidence. As a researcher based at the Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet, I feel very privileged and I greatly benefit from the subscriptions by our university libraries. However, there are still barriers in access to some scientific knowledge for many colleagues. Another common issue is that if we succeed to produce many different outputs from a research project, the costs of publishing the results of our own work in peer-reviewed journals are not always fully covered.

What changes within research politics and the research community could counter these challenges?

As researchers, we have opportunities to engage in the open science movement through more transparent creation and sharing of knowledge. I believe that successful implementation of open science initiatives will also require understanding and strong commitment from other actors outside the research community.

Do you have any concrete examples – positive or negative – of where open science applications have made a difference in practice?

In addition to sharing knowledge, our possibilities to share methodologies, resources and data have also improved during the recent period. New technologies in particular make it possible for researchers in epidemiology and public health to collaborate more efficiently both across disciplines and across universities. The “Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social And Medical Sciences (SIMSAM)”, with many important contributions from researchers affiliated to the Stockholm University, is an excellent example of such a collaboration.