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Open science and the reward system: how can they be aligned?

By Stephane Berghmans, PhD – June 17, 2020

Open science webinar with panelists

Open science webinar guests (left to right): Dr. Stephane Berghmans (Elsevier) will moderate and Dr. Nick Fowler (Elsevier) will introduce the panellists: Dr. Moniek Tromp (University of Groningen), Dr. Matthew DiFranco (ImageBiopsy Lab), Veronique De Herde (UCLouvain) and Dr. Andrew Plume (Elsevier). You can find a link to the webinar below.

What value do we place on the work of researchers? From the perspective of a layperson, it might seem like we as a society value research greatly. News outlets regularly report on developments in medicine, engineering, information technology, chemistry and so on, praising the dedication and intellect of the people behind innovations. Laypeople are also aware of awards conferred on scientists as well as the prestige and importance of studying STEM.

However, this outsider perspective does not align with reality of researchers, whose academic value is seen through the lens of the current reward system. Its focus on publication and impact factors seems far too narrow when one considers everything else they do. What about their roles in education and public communication of science? What about their considerable work in obtaining, administrating and reporting on funding? How are early-career researchers supported by the current system? Among research stakeholders, there is considerable debate on the potential to reform the reward system so that it better reflects what researchers actually do.

Furthermore, important questions are being asked about the relationship between the reward system and open science. A reform of the system could better align the two, creating greater incentives for the activities that governments, institutions and publishers have committed to.

On July 2, experts on open science and career assessment will come together to discuss the current reward system and the potential for its reform. The webinar – Open science and the reward system: how can they be aligned? – promises to be a lively discussion between representatives of important organizations that are invested in change in this area. The panelists are:

  • Prof. Moniek Tromp, Vice Chair, Selection Committee of Young Academy of Europe, and Chair of Materials Chemistry of the University of Groningen
  • Dr. Matthew DiFranco, Former Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association and Chief Scientific Officer at ImageBiopsy Lab
  • Veronique De Herde, Secretariat Coordinator and Open Science Ambassador for Eurodoc and PhD Candidate at UCLouvain
  • Dr. Andrew Plume, Senior Director of Research Evaluation at Elsevier and Chair of the ICSR Advisory Board

They will be joined by Dr. Nick Fowler, Chief Academic Officer at Elsevier, who will introduce the event, and I will moderate.

The aim of the event is to gain a deeper understanding of potential changes to how we consider academic value. Particular focus will be given to questions of supporting the careers of young researchers, encouraging open science activities, and retaining mobility internationally and beyond academia.

The way we reward the work of researchers should align with both the goals of open science programs and the realities of academia. This unique event is the opportunity to hear passionate and knowledgeable individuals explore how we can achieve this.

Register for the webinar

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Dr. Stephane Berghmans is VP of Academic Relations for Elsevier, responsible for relationships with research organizations and EU institutions. He is a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine who obtained his PhD in genetics and molecular biology at the University of Liege. He then became a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, where he established zebrafish as a cancer model at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He moved to the biotech sector in Cambridge (UK) in 2004, where he headed zebrafish drug discovery for early in vivo compound screening. He moved to Portland, Oregon (USA) in 2008, where he joined Znomics as Director of Biology. He joined the European Science Foundation in 2009 as Head of the Biomedical Sciences Unit, managing the secretariat general for the European Medical Research Councils (EMRC) with activities in science management, policy and strategy.

Stephane joined Elsevier in 2013. Since 2015, he has been a member of the EuroScience Governing Board. He is based in Brussels.

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