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” aims to explore, from a policy perspective, how to further promote open science, beyond open access publishing and open data. The project overviews the rapidly evolving landscape of science practices and conceptualises open science in its broadest sense. Based on this understanding, it examines two specific areas in more depth: (1) Open research agenda-setting and (2) Digital plaforms to promote open research infrastructure.

Two international workshops have been convened as part of this project: The first workshop held at OECD in October 2016 was devoted to developing an overall open science framework, which incorporates diverse open science practices and the potential benefits of open science. The second workshop held in Seoul, in June 2017, focused on case studies and their policy implications and also included an international forum on open science policy and practice.

Several working papers and policy reports arising from this work are in preparation and will be published by the end of 2107.

(*) The OECD Committee for Science and  Technology Policy (CSTP) and Global Science Forum (GSF) are working 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.