Driving culture change through Open Science: The Role of Research Funders





Open science initiatives share many similarities with movements dedicated to cultivating healthier and more inclusive research environments. UNESCO lists four values of Open Science that are also foundational to healthy and inclusive research cultures:

1. Quality and integrity,

2. Collective benefit,

3. Equity and fairness,

4. Diversity and inclusiveness.

In line with these values and in order to “change academia for the better” and to foster an “environment of active collaboration and participation”, the Netherlands has made a strategic commitment to Open Science. To realise this strategic ambition, the Dutch government has allocated significant funding (€20 million annually for 10 years) to facilitate the transition to open science. Open Science NL, which is part of the Dutch Research Council (NWO), has been established in 2023 to oversee the allocation of these funds. 

Implementing open science is a complex endeavour that necessitates coordinated efforts from various stakeholders. Research funders in particular can have significant influence in driving change toward open science and healthier research cultures, as they can impact all five essential elements of culture change: 1. Policy (make it required); 2. Incentives (make it rewarding); 3. Communities (make it normative); 4. User Interface/Experience (make it easy) and 5. Infrastructure (make it possible).  

This talk presented the strategy adopted by the Dutch Research Council and Open Science NL to drive the implementation of open science and to foster healthier research cultures, with concrete examples of implementation, across all five essential elements of culture change.