Open science aims to transform the scientific process by “opening” its various steps from ideation to data collection and dissemination through publishing. “Open” not only refers to free access but also information that can be freely distributed, reused, and modified. For health information, open science can promote a higher level of trust and credibility in the output of research studies. Open practices such as pre-registration of studies, open peer review, open data, and open access publishing can eventually lead to more accurate verification of results, reduce duplication of identical studies, and make scientific results more accessible to the general public.

Various examples of open science practices exist locally from Qatar University’s Press and open repository, QScience.com, Qatar National Library’s Open Access Program, and the Library’s Open Initiative Award. Moreover, many initiatives and programs exist on a global/international level, and examples of open science in the health field are on the rise. Perhaps one of the most relevant contemporary examples is the call for openness in Covid-19 related research, exemplified by a drive of publishers to make their publications free to read and a call for researchers to make their research data more open.

Nonetheless, a transformation for open science requires addressing several challenges, from addressing “myths” related to open science to addressing its long-term sustainability. Such misconceptions include the notion that access to information is sufficient and not a problem, open access publications are not peer-reviewed, or that authors have to pay the open access fees themselves. While training and advocacy programs can address these misconceptions, the biggest obstacle to open science is ensuring the long-term sustainability of open science infrastructure services, often set up as nonprofits to benefit the scientific community without guaranteed long-term financing. Support through continued use and adoption of these services, as well as institutional-led financing, will help their long-term survival.

Another critical issue for open science is how to support open access publishing. While open policies and mandates are essential for adoption, financing publication charges is a significant obstacle. Institutional stakeholders must have better engagement because there are enough financial resources in the system; these resources need to be pooled efficiently and collaboratively. Institutional publishing agreements and support for different publishing business models can help the openness of science and the sustainability of open science. Institutional support will help institutions have higher research visibility, reduce costs, and remove financial obstacles from their authors.


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