Open Science - OECD Project

Open Science - OECD Project

Digitalisation can be broadly defined as the use of digital technologies to change a process, business or domain. The impacts of digitalisation are nowhere more evident than in the scientific domain, where the development and almost ubiquitous adoption of new information and communication technologies is transforming the research process. Digitalisation is enabling a new Open Science paradigm, including open access publication, open data sharing and more open and inclusive participation in the process of science itself.
Over 2013-14, an OECD project on Open Science was undertaken in the framework of the activities of the OECD Working Party on Technology and Innovation Policy. The project aimed to map policy trends and to identify best practices and bottlenecks related to open science efforts in OECD and non-member countries.  It focused mainly on open access publication and open data sharing. The report of this project can be accessed via the link below.
Whilst there has been considerable policy interest and action with regards to open access publishing and open data sharing, less attention has been paid to how digitalisation can make scientific processes and research itself more inclusive.  Involving societal stakeholders and reducing national boundaries to participation in research, have enormous potential to both accelerate scientific progress and make this progress more relevant to societal needs. Against this background, OECD is starting a new project in Open and Inclusive Collaboration in Science.  This will complement ongoing work on infrastructure and business models for open data and on Open and Responsible Research and Innovation.

OECD-STEPI (Korea) Project: Open and Inclusive Collaboration in Science

This OECD-STEPI joint project on “open and inclusive collaboration in science” aimed to explore, from a policy perspective, how to further promote open science, beyond open access publishing and open data. The following two reports from this project were published in December 2017.

1. Open research agenda setting:

This report includes an analysis of 7 different initiatives to engage citizens in the co-design of research agendas .  These cases varied considerably in their scientific focus, geographic scale and overall aims and methodology. Nevertheless a number of consistent messages came through in relation to: 1. the rational for engaging citizens in setting research agendas; 2. how to do so effectively; 3. the resource implications and potential impact.  The report includes 10 key observations or lessons learned to help guide policy-makers, research funders and researchers who are interested in citizen engagement in science.

2. Digital platforms for facilitating access to research infrastructures:

Shared research infrastructures are playing an increasingly important role in most scientific fields and represent a significant proportion of the total public investment in science. This report includes an analysis of 8 case studies of digital platforms that collate information and provide services to promote broader access to, and more effective use of, research infrastructures. Although there is considerable variety amongst the cases, a number of key issues are identified that can help guide policy-makers, funders, institutions and managers, who are interested in developing or contributing to such platforms.

A third report describing a broad framework for open science is in preparation.

The OECD Committee for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP) and Global Science Forum (GSF) worked in partnership with the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) Korea, to realise this project.


This report, Making Open Science a Reality, reviews the progress in OECD countries in making the results of publicly funded research, namely scientific publications and research data openly accessible to researchers and innovators alike. The report i) reviews the policy rationale behind open science and open data; ii) discusses and presents evidence on the impacts of policies to promote open science and open data; iii) explores the legal barriers and solutions to greater access to research data; iv) provides a description of the key actors involved in open science and their roles; and finally v) assesses progress in OECD and selected non-member countries based on a survey of recent policy trends. 

Access the full report.

For further reading

David, P.A. (2003), “The economic logic of “open science” and the balance between private property rights and the public domain in scientific data and information: A primer”, in P. Uhlir and J. Esanu (eds.), National Research Council on the Role of the Public Domain in Science, National Academy Press, Washington, DC.

Force11 (2012), “Improving the future of research communications and e-scholarship”, Force11 white paper,

Merton, R.K. (1973), The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, University of Chicago Press.

OECD (2015), Inquiries into Intellectual Property’s Economic Impact, OECD Publishing, Paris.

OECD (2014), Measuring the Digital Economy: A New Perspective, OECD Publishing, Paris,

UNESCO (2012), Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Open Access, UNESCO Publishing.