Open Science is a modern movement that represents a new approach to practicing science, in a way that increases openness, integrity and reproducibility of research. It aims at making scientific process and results more transparent and accessible at all levels and to everyone. The rapid growth of digital technologies and new collaborative tools become enablers of Open Science, allowing to speed up the process of adopting open habits and facilitating the sharing of large volumes of information, study materials and data. Europe has a culture and ability to share research activities across national boundaries, which along with its remarkable research and knowledge base put it in a leading position in the world to promote and expedite the new Open Science way of working. In fact, nearly 10% of the budget allocated for the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 is channelled to direct or indirect support of Open Science and towards this direction, the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) has been developed to enable sharing and re-use of research data across disciplines and borders, taking into account relevant legal, security and privacy issues.
In the context of transport, “fostering more Open Science through intensified user engagement and societal uptake, and more Open Innovation allowing for dynamic knowledge circulation enabling socio-economic added value” are laid down as the objectives of the European Commission Transport Research and Innovation policy. Hence, research, technology and innovation actions in the transport sector face new challenges linked to the aspects of Open Science. Technical interoperability, data and information interoperability, deployment of new skills, development of new schemes for research evaluation and adoption of collaborative ways of working are some of the main challenges of building Open Science platforms in transport research, with information always open to major groups of transport stakeholders from research, public and private organisations and the general public.
As the way in which science and research are carried out has changed, BE OPEN aims to assist in operationalising Open Science in transport research at the European level, through a series of targeted coordination and support activities. BE OPEN brings together a strong partnership comprising leading transport research institutions and research networks at pan-European level covering all transport modes (i.e. road, rail, water, air), and partners with high-level expertise in Open Science practice who are at the forefront of relevant developments in Europe, complemented by an advisory group of world-leading experts engaged in international initiatives..
BE OPEN aims to promote Open Science in transport research (Figure) and assist in regulating and standardizing it. The overarching vision of BE OPEN is to create a common understanding on the practical impact of Open Science and to identify and put in place the mechanisms to make it a reality in transport research. Achieving Open Access to publications, making their underlying data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and open where possible, and using open and collaborative processes and infrastructure via the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) will be key factors in making transportation researchers share-reuse-reproduce science and in bringing such a critical sector closer to the society for enabling open innovation and citizen science.
Openness, transparency, fairness, reproducibility of science are key aspects around which BE OPEN will seek to establish the ground rules for the transport research communities, ultimately establishing a community of transport research organizations willing to work on the basis of a commonly agreed “Open Science Code of Conduct”.
To this end, BE OPEN has brought on board key transport and open science related communities in a two-fold action plan: to engage them in a participatory approach fostering a dialogue on Open Science (what exists, what should be done, how it should be done) among relevant stakeholders in Europe and around the world, and develop a detailed roadmap for the implementation of sustainable open science modules which include key practices, infrastructures, policies and business models, all taking into account the specificities of the transport research domain, and the use and integration of existing-infrastructures and the emerging EOSC initiative.