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New research project tackles the ethical challenges of Open Science

University of Tartu Associate Professor of Practical Philosophy Kadri Simm participates in a new research project “ROSiE” of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, which focuses on the critical analysis of ethical, philosophical and interdisciplinary principles of Open Science.

The introductive text of ROSiE states, that Open Science (OS) where research planning, processes, data and results are freely available to all stakeholders is the future of science. OS will make science more effective and more responsive to societal needs, and it will enable citizens to participate actively in all aspects of science as citizen scientists.

“The principles of Open Science are very important because they help to share scientific data, improve science and make it more transparent,” says Kadri Simm, the Associate Professor of Practical Philosophy at the University of Tartu. The project description explains that research misconduct and questionable research practices occur in our current scientific processes, and it is likely that similar or new forms of misconduct and questionable practices will emerge in OS. It is therefore important to identify and analyse the potential for misconduct in various areas of OS practice and in different scientific disciplines.

"Research fields have very different traditions, methods and practices, and the same framework does not always suit all of them equally well," says Simm. She gives an example, that there is a big difference between sharing anonymised statistics or ethnographic stories collected using qualitative methods with the public. "This raises both philosophical and ethical issues, such as the protection of subjects, and we here at the department of philosophy together with our international partners will begin to analyse that in this new research project," explains Simm why the new project focuses on issues of research ethics, good science and misconduct.

The purpose of the project “Responsible Open Science in Europe” (ROSiE) is to identify and analyse current ethical, social and legal approaches to responding to questionable practices. In addition, ROSiE will develop practical tools aimed at ensuring ERI in OS and citizen science (CS).*, It is only based on such an analysis that the European science system can effectively ensure that ethics and research integrity (ERI) becomes a structural component of Open Science.

This will be done by a strongly multi-disciplinary project group consisting of world-leading experts and organizations in OS, CS, and ERI. In addition to Estonia (University of Tartu), universities, research institutions and ethics committees of Norway, Austria, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Portugal and Latvia also participate in the project.

The full title of this project is “Responsible Open Science in Europe”. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No 101006430.

Additional information
Kadri Simm, Associate Professor of Practical Philosophy at the University of Tartu, kadri.simm [ät] ut.ee


* In most broad sense, citizen science could be defined as „scientific work undertaken by members of the general public often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions“ (Oxford English Dictionary. (2014). Citizen science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.)