Drivers and obstacles for Open Science

A report by the European Commission

a golden key on a white background with the word incentives written on it

A 2021 study by the European Commission provides an in-depth analysis of the drivers and barriers that influence the implementation of open science practices. The study identifies key factors that motivate or prevent researchers from engaging in open science and divides them into three categories for a clearer structuring. Read a summary here:

1. Sensitisation, information and knowledge:

  • Raising awareness of the practices and benefits of open science.
  • Removal of information barriers regarding legal restrictions and the socio-economic benefits of open science.
  • Clarification of the indirect and secondary effects in order to demonstrate the benefits for researchers.

2. Incentives and disincentives for researchers:

  • Creating incentives by recognising open science practices, financial incentives from funders and for open access publication.
  • Eliminate disincentives and costs associated with data sharing and collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Dealing with concerns and uncertainties such as the fear of being overtaken in the publication competition or concerns about data misuse.

3. Framework conditions, system adjustments and investments in competences:

  • Providing the necessary infrastructure by integrating open science into existing systems and utilising tools and services.
  • Adjustments to research policy, including changes to university curricula, commitment to citizen science and promotion of open peer review.
  • Developing the necessary skills through education and training programmes on open scientific methods.

The authors conclude their report with recommendations for policy actions that are likely to be effective in most of the scenarios they outline, such as developing a concise profile of European science based on European values and fostering open collaboration with a variety of actors from the private and public sectors. These recommendations aim to further promote and facilitate the integration and benefits of open science practices.

The authors end with their vision for the future:

“The year is 2030. Open Science has become a reality and is offering a whole range of new, unlimited opportunities for research and discovery worldwide. Scientists, citizens, publishers, research institutions, public and private research funders, students and education professionals as well as companies from around the globe are sharing an open, virtual environment, called The Lab.”

To the article:

European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Hessels, L., Koens, L., Diederen, P., Perspectives on the future of open science – Effects of global variation in open science practices on the European research system, Publications Office of the European Union, 2021,

to Open Science Magazine