The impact of COVID-19 on the debate on open science: An analysis of expert opinion

Auteurs/Authors : Melanie Benson Marshall,  Stephen Pinfield, Pamela Abbott, Andrew Cox, Juan Pablo Alperin,  Natascha Chtena, Isabelle Dorsch, Alice Fleerackers, Monique Oliveira,
Isabella Peters

This study is an analysis of the international debate on open science that took place during the pandemic. It addresses the question, how did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the debate on open science?

The study takes the form of a qualitative analysis of a large corpus of key articles, editorials, blogs and thought pieces about the impact of COVID on open science, published during the pandemic in English, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.

The findings show that many authors believed that it was clear that the experience of the pandemic had illustrated or strengthened the case for open science, with language such as a “stress test”, “catalyst”, “revolution” or “tipping point” frequently used. It was commonly believed that open science had played a positive role in the response to the pandemic, creating a clear ‘line of sight’ between open science and societal benefits.

Whilst the arguments about open science deployed in the debate were not substantially new, the focuses of debate changed in some key respects. There was much less attention given to business models for open access and critical perspectives on open science, but open data sharing, preprinting, information quality and misinformation became most prominent in debates. There were also moves to reframe open science conceptually, particularly in connecting science with society and addressing broader questions of equity.

The impact of COVID-19 on the debate on open science: An analysis of expert opinion