Tackling global challenges require effective policies and collaboration

Maijastiina Arvola, Development Manager, Project Acquisition and Development at CSC & EOSC-Nordic WP2 leader.

When tackling global challenges such as climate change or a pandemic, international collaboration is essential. Needless to say, that collaboration on an international level does not come without hard work and strong will. It requires trust, agreed and accepted rules, and practices. Building collaboration requires time and patience. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

During the current pandemic, the whole world has turned its eyes on the scientists working to develop a vaccine to get the virus under control. It is evident that researchers and scientists are in the center of explaining global phenomena and finding solutions to our common challenges.

With COVID-19, more than ever, frictionless collaboration must be possible in science. To avoid friction, policies must be in place that allows scientists to share their data, to build on the work of other scientists, and to provide research results for the use of societies and decision-makers across the nations. Open science policies are largely set on a national basis, but efficient international collaboration requires a certain level of harmonization of these policies.

Open science-policy implementation across the Nordic and Baltic region

EOSC-Nordic is here to support the harmonization and coordination of national policies in the Nordic and Baltic region to foster the development of the European Open Science Cloud. We aim to provide information for policymakers to understand the differences in the maturity level of open science policies between the member states.

Since the beginning of the project, we have organized a Policy Workshop and conducted desk research and interviews to describe and communicate the level of maturity of open science policies in the Nordic and Baltic countries, as well as to reveal challenges related to the legislation.

Based on these first steps of the project, we can already say that national policies in the Nordic and Baltic countries are on different levels of maturity. In some countries, such as Sweden and Finland, national open science guidelines have been put into place, while in some others they are foreseen in the coming years.

Interestingly, recent interviews we conducted also revealed that in many cases where we thought the challenges regarding open science implementation would be legislative, they, in fact, originate from existing policies.

The world after the pandemic

A global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, will often lead to a leap forward in some areas of development. The increased attention of the world towards tackling global challenges – not only COVID-19 but also climate change – could be the catalyst for open science. Crises situation reveals the weak points of existing policies, creates incentives to strengthen collaboration and harmonization, and streamlines the open science practices and guidelines. Whether this applies to the harmonization of open science policies remains to be seen. However, it is clear that policymakers are willing to put an effort into actions that would help to solve the problem.