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Archive for September 3rd, 2021

Open Science & Scholarship – the name debate

By Kirsty, on 3 September 2021

The phrase ‘Open Science’ originated in Europe, but when used in English gives us a slight issue. To most English speakers, the word Science conjures a specific image to most people – of scientists in labs, chemistry, physics… not the all-encompassing view that Open Science actually represents.

The word ‘science’ here actually draws on the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge, which is why outside the UK is it much more easily accepted for what it represents. Which is opening up what we know, the data we used to learn it and how we got there, across all areas of research, not just Natural Sciences but Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

To combat the misunderstanding about the word science, a whole host of alternatives are used across academic institutions in the UK, there is a great article on the UKCORR blog by Nick Shepherd which touches on this and lists other universities choices and position statements.

Here at UCL, back in October 2020 we launched the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship, fully embracing the term Open Science and its connection to Europe, building on the LERU 8 Pillars of Open Science but also including Open Scholarship in an effort to make the name sound more inclusive here in the UK, pushing back against that instinctive image that is conjured by the word science.

We have recently released a full discussion of the principles behind the Office for Open Science & Scholarship, our name, and our commitments: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support/open-science/defining-open-science-scholarship