Open science, the unrestricted access to scientific publications (open access), research data and research software, is transforming the scientific landscape worldwide. Providing access to publications as well as to corresponding research data and research software makes the research process and its results more transparent and thus verifiable. It fosters knowledge exchange and knowledge transfer into society and the economy and is crucial for innovation.
The Helmholtz Association was one of the initial signatories of the “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” in 2003. This commitment towards open access was then formally approved by its Assembly of Members in 2004.
Since 2016, an Open Access Policy offers a clear and reliable framework for the transformation towards open access. According to this policy, all publications by scientists in the Helmholtz Association should be made freely available within at most 6 months (12 months for publications in the social sciences and humanities).
Since 2013, a corresponding regulation is ensuring that beneficiaries of the Helmholtz Initiative and Networking Fund make their publications freely available to the public on the internet.
In 2016 the Helmholtz Association published a position paper on the management of research data and in 2017 it approved recommendations for guidelines at the Helmholtz Centers on handling research data. Currently, guidelines for a sustainable approach to dealing with research software in Helmholtz are being developed.
The Helmholtz Open Science Office
Since 2005 the Helmholtz Open Science Office supports scientists as well as the respective Helmholtz Centers in the realisation of open science. The Helmholtz Open Science Newsletter and the Helmholtz Open Science Workshops are only two examples of how the Helmholtz Open Science Office informs and advises employees about new developments, strategies, and ideas.
Another example of the successful work is that most Helmholtz Centers now run institutional repositories. These openly accessible databases contain a significant and steadily growing share of the scientific output of the Helmholtz Association.
Regular workshops support establishing a Helmholtz open science community. This community also includes dedicated scientists who act as editors and/or members of the review board of open access journals and who additionally continue to propagate the idea of open science in their respective Helmholtz Centers.
Open access to research data is an indispensable part of scientific culture and will generate a considerable added value to science. Even today, data sharing already has a high relevance for the many Centers within the Helmholtz Association. A growing number of data centers with open access - including three of a total of four ICSU-World Data Centres in Germany - are run by Helmholtz Centers. Helmholtz scientists are actively involved in national and international initiatives related to open data.
If you would like to know more
You can find more information, amongst others, on the advantages of open science and on current activities on the website of the Helmholtz Open Science Office: http://os.helmholtz.de/
Helmholtz is a key actor of the German Reproducibility Network
In February 2021, the German Reproducibility Network was founded.This peer-led cross-disciplinary consortium in Germany aims to increase trustworthiness and transparency of scientific research. Both the Helmholtz AI and the Helmholtz Open Science Office are founding members.
The network focuses on the following activities:
- Support researchers in educating themselves about open science practices, and founding local open science communities,
- connecting local or topic-centered Reproducibility Initiatives to a national network, and foster connections between them,
- advise institutions on how to embed open science practices in their work,
- represent the open science community toward other stakeholders in the wider scientific landscape.
The founding members are the following eight Open Science actors in Germany:
- Berlin University Alliance
- QUEST Center of the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- German Psychological Society (DGPs)
- Helmholtz AI, with Heidi Seibold (HMGU) as representative
- Helmholtz Open Science Office, with Bernadette Fritzsch (AWI) as representative
- LMU Open Science Center
- NOSI (Network of Open Science Initiatives)
- ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics