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NWO allocates one million euro to open science


Academics with projects related to open science can now apply for funding from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). At least twenty projects will receive financial support from a new fund totalling one million euro.

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The term 'open science' refers to the idea that scientific data should be freely accessible, transparent and reusable, so that the rest of the society can use it too. 

Each project will receive a maximum of 50,000 euro from the newly-created Open Science Fund, with the first grants expected to be awarded in the summer of 2021.

Cultural shift
For NWO Chairperson Stan Gielen, there needs to be a cultural shift for 'open science' to become universally accepted. “We are trying to bring this about in every way we can,” he said.

Applicants looking for inspiration should look no further than the work of ornithological researcher Antica Culina (link in Dutch), who has just been awarded the Dutch Data Prize. She created a universal bird database after noticing that most data on bird populations was either missing, hard to find, or stored in different formats. 

NWO is also pursuing openness in its own practices. The research funding agency aims to post every proposal submitted for the new fund on its website, regardless of whether they were successful or not, alongside the feedback from the assessment committee. But first they must obtain the authors' permission to do so, of course.

The concept of open science goes a step further than the concept of open access. The latter strives for freely accessible academic publications, so that knowledge is not locked up behind a paywall, while the former extends that principle to the data the publications are based on.

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