Soile Ollila and Mirja Kaarlela: Open science and research drive innovation and reform in science


The credibility and trustworthiness of scientific research has been a subject of heated debate among scientists and funding providers over the last few days. The debate revolves around the elements of scientific research: authenticity of research, interpretation and verification of data, and publishing, sharing and usage of results. These issues have become a hot topic in both scientific communities and public discussion. Proposed solutions to the problem include the self-regulation of research integrity and the supporting mechanisms. While effective internal control and peer assessment within scientific communities are necessary, greater openness and transparency are also required. Transparency of the research process reduces the risk of research misconduct, drives reform and innovation in science, and provides opportunities for scientists, businesses and citizens to create ground-breaking innovations.

Scientific practice has been changing in response to global pressures for greater openness. Open research, currently a megatrend in science, is promoted in Finland by the Open Science and Research Initiative led by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Tekes is contributing to this initiative: Tekes recommends open access to research publications in all of its calls for applications since the beginning of 2016, and encourages also actions to increase research transparency, including research data. We hope that these actions lead to improvements in the quality of scientific research and benefit businesses as well as the scientific community. For businesses, open access to knowledge generated by research – both the data and results – will provide opportunities and potential sources of competitive advantage which we, as a society, have so far failed to exploit.

Businesses around the world are adopting open innovation practices. The benefits of open innovation include faster market entry, competitive advantage based on co-creation, and a novel approach to risk-sharing between all co-creators. Open software and open source code are just the beginning and the potential benefits of open innovation show no signs of waning. Sharing and crowdsourcing are the key tenets of open innovation, which is moving from marginal to mainstream, as evidenced by the growing popularity of events such as Hackathons. In short, open access to research materials provides businesses with major opportunities.

We recommend open access to research publications and encourage transparency in research processes. Our recommendations are aimed at making research data and methods more transparent and available for further use.

Soile Ollila, Foresight Manager
Mirja Kaarlela, Executive Director, Networking businesses and research

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