Open, collaborative, and inclusive science

Last updated on 2023-10-30 | Edit this page



  • What is open science?
  • Which obstacles can we find when attempting to adopt an open science framework?


After attending this training, participants will be able to:

  • Define open science and explain the motivation behind implementing open practices.
  • List current challenges with adopting open science for underrepresented communities.
  • List the benefits marginalized communities receive when collaborative science practices are adopted.


Librarians play an indispensable role in advancing open science as facilitators, supporting researchers, and significantly contributing to the principles of collaboration and inclusivity. These values are crucial as they enable global participation in scientific endeavors, ultimately contributing to the democratization of knowledge.

Throughout this lesson, we will explore the implications of adopting more open and ethical research practices, establishing an environment where scientific information is accessible to all, and increasing the visibility and impact of scientific publications. It’s important to acknowledge that open science presents challenges, and librarians must be proactive in addressing these obstacles to ensure that it does not exacerbate existing barriers.

What is Open Science?

The core aspects of Open Science are closely related to Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, which acknowledges people’s right to participate in scientific progress and enjoy its benefits. Open Science aims to make science accessible and collaborative for the benefit of society as a whole, aligning with this right.


While there are several definitions of open science, in this lesson, we will follow the one provided by the UNESCO recommendations for Open Science which states that it is a movement aimed at enhancing accessibility, efficiency, democracy, and transparency in scientific research.

This approach is underpinned by unprecedented advancements in digital technology and seeks to make information, data, and research findings more accessible through open access and more reliable through open data.

A fundamental component is the active participation of all stakeholders, including society at large, to foster increased collaboration and transparency in the field of science. It seeks to involve social actors beyond the traditional scientific community by opening up the processes of creating, evaluating, and communicating scientific knowledge.

The motivation behind open science

Implementing open practices in the scientific community is motivated by a range of factors that aim to enhance the quality, transparency, accessibility, and societal impact of research.

Social Impact

Open science ensures that research processes, methods, and data are transparent and easily accessible to others. This transparency facilitates the verification and reproducibility of research, enhancing the reliability of scientific findings.

As a result, it can reduce barriers between researchers and other stakeholders, such as the public, policymakers, and practitioners, by offering them access to the different stages of the research workflow.

Equity and Inclusivity

Open practices help level the playing field for researchers and institutions that may have limited access to expensive subscription-based journals or research databases.

Open access and open data initiatives promote empowering and equal opportunities for researchers, regardless of their affiliation or location, celebrating diversity and inclusion.

Global Collaboration

Open practices enable researchers from diverse geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds to collaborate more effectively. It facilitates cross-border collaborations and the pooling of resources and expertise, leading to a broader and more inclusive scientific community.

Accelerating Scientific Progress

Collaboration drives innovation. Open practices promote collaboration and knowledge sharing, allowing researchers to build upon existing work. This increases efficiency by reusing data, reducing costs, and avoiding duplicated work. This accelerates the pace of scientific discovery.

The sharing of data reduces transaction costs; increases reproducibility and reuse of data; decreases redundancy; and drives greater transparency, heightened efficiency, and accelerated sustainable innovation


(In groups, 10 minutes): visit the website of the Psychological Science Accelerator and read briefly about the project. Then discuss with your group how you can collaborate on a project with these characteristics as a librarian.

Share your answers on the collaborative document.

Challenges for adopting open science in Marginalized Communities

The role of English as an interchange language in open science

English is one of the most widely spoken and understood languages globally, for this reason it is usual to take English as the language of scientific research that allows researchers from diverse linguistic backgrounds to collaborate and communicate effectively.

However, while English serves as a valuable interchange language, making it the dominant language of science has a negative impact on non-English-speaking communities. It becomes a barrier to participating fully in discussions, publishing research, or collaborating with other groups. It also hinders the understanding and engagement of individuals with science.

Language is deeply intertwined with culture. By prioritizing English, we risk embedding cultural biases into scientific knowledge, marginalizing perspectives and practices from non-English-speaking regions. It can also reinforce power dynamics favoring English-speaking countries’ interests and priorities rather than reflecting the global spectrum of challenges and needs. It can influence decision-making, funding allocation, and the overall direction of the scientific research agenda.

For non-English-speaking communities, learning the language is often reserved for people in a privileged position. Not everyone has equal access to the resources needed to acquire a second language. This creates an inherent bias towards individuals with better access to educational materials, funds, and even time, further exacerbating global inequalities in scientific participation and representation.

Translation is a laborious and costly process that most often falls on the non-English speakers. One common practice in scientific journals of different languages is the translation of abstracts into English to enhance the visibility of the work and accessibility for individuals who only speak English. This practice is prevalent in most Latin American and Chinese journals, while it is extremely infrequent in English-language journals.

The socio-economic limitations

Being a researcher in a low to middle-income country (LMIC) can present several barriers to adopting open science practices:

  • Limited Access to Resources

Researchers in LMICs often lack access to necessary resources such as high-speed internet, computing infrastructure, software, and relevant literature. Open science heavily relies on digital platforms and resources, and the absence of these can hinder their adoption.

  • Financial constraints

Open-access publishing, attending open science-related conferences, or accessing open educational resources often incur costs and the financial burden may limit the researchers’ participation in open science practices.

  • Lack of Funding and Support

The limited availability of grants or funding for open science initiatives may discourage researchers from actively participating or investing time in adopting these practices.

  • Lack of training opportunities

Awareness and understanding of open science practices may be lacking or insufficient in LMICs due to limited training opportunities. Researchers are not often familiar with the benefits or methodologies associated with open science.

  • Publishing Pressures and Incentives

Researchers in LMICs frequently face pressure to conform to traditional publishing practices rather than exploring open access options due to concerns about career progression and recognition.

  • Policy and Institutional Constraints

Some institutions or governments in low to middle-income countries do not have established policies or frameworks supportive of open science. The lack of a conducive environment or encouragement from the authorities can impede the integration of open practices.

Addressing these barriers requires a collective effort from the global scientific community, encompassing financial support, enhancements in digital infrastructure, the implementation of training programs, the promotion of multilingualism, and the advocacy for policies that facilitate the adoption of open science worldwide.


(In groups, 10 minutes): Think about your experience working with open science and discuss the following questions:

  1. Which limitations or difficulties have you encountered?
  2. How do you think those difficulties affect the implementation of open science in marginalized communities?
  3. Do you know any marginalized or unrepresented communities near you?

Share your answers on the collaborative document.

Benefits of Collaborative Science for Marginalized Communities

Open science can promote diversity, inclusivity, and equitable participation in research helping mitigate several obstacles and barriers:

  • Free access to research results: removes economic barriers, providing equality to individuals with limited resources providing access to high-quality scientific information.

  • Collaborative research and resource sharing: reduce costs and overcome barriers, enabling scientists to participate in projects that may have been individually unaffordable for them. This collaboration not only promotes inclusion but also harnesses a broader range of knowledge and experiences through funding, equipment, and expertise, reducing the burden on individual researchers or institutions with limited resources.

  • Fostering diversity, inclusion, and equitable participation: Adapting open science practices to local needs and overcoming economic and cultural barriers is essential. Encouraging the active participation of individuals with disabilities in collaborative research projects promotes diversity and ensures that their unique perspectives and expertise are valued.

  • Diverse Collaboration Networks: collaboration among researchers from different linguistic backgrounds can foster the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Inclusive research teams that value diverse linguistic skills can collectively contribute to overcoming language barriers.

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Key Points

  • Open Science aims to make scientific knowledge reproducible, transparent, and accessible to all.
  • Open science promotes equity and inclusivity, fostering collaboration, regardless of the researchers’ affiliation or geographical location.
  • Librarians play a vital role in promoting open science practices and combatting misinformation.