Recap: Workshop on the Future of Open Science and Publishing

December 14, 2015

On November 2, we hosted a workshop at BIDS to discuss the future of open science and publishing. Our goal was to explore how increasing calls for openness are likely to affect the landscape of academic research and scholarly communication in the coming decades.

The workshop kicked off in the morning with a panel discussion in the Banatao Auditorium on Berkeley campus. Our five invited panelists each presented their organization's current initiatives and future visions surrounding open scholarship.

Our first panelist was Jeff MacKie-Mason, the new University Librarian at UC Berkeley. He highlighted several of UC Berkeley's current programs surrounding open science, many of which have been in place for some time, and posed the question of why we have not seen more serious progress to date in achieving open science.


Our second panelist was Ann Gabriel, Vice President of Academic & Research Relations at Elsevier. Ann gave us a whirlwind tour of the many ways in which Elsevier is exploring current and evolving issues in scholarly communication.


Our third panelist was Josh Brown (filling in for Laurel Haak), Regional Director for Europe for ORCID. Josh spoke about the ORCID identifier system and how having a single persistent ID for researchers can help promote efficiency and interoperability within the scholarly publishing landscape.


Our fourth panelist was Dan Morgan, Digital Science Publisher at the University of California Press. Dan spoke about the new Collabra journal at UC Press, focusing on its unique model of sharing value between all participants in the publishing process and closing with an imaginative vision of how a researcher of the future might disseminate his or her work.


Our fifth panelist, Andrew Tein, Vice President for Global Government Affairs at Wiley, gave a short "lightning" talk on Wiley's initiatives in open data, standards, and annotation.


The panel closed with a lengthy, half hour discussion that expanded on the themes raised by the speakers.


After the morning panel, we returned to BIDS for a working group with 30 invited participants from commercial publishers, academic presses, libraries, open software projects, and other similar groups. Our activity for the afternoon was a horizon scan, in which we proposed a set of underappreciated but potentially significant events and trends in open science and publishing for the next few decades. Similar to a brainstorming session, the goal was not to determine what is likely to happen but, rather, to make a creative participant-generated list of possibly significant future events whose consequences should be explored.

Our efforts in the afternoon generated a list of more than 80 candidate "futures" for open science and publishing, many of which were creative and thought provoking for the attendees. These speculative ideas ranged from institutional collapse scenarios (e.g., the federal government forces a breakup of large publishers) to the emergence of new transformative tools (e.g., algorithmic paper generation) to social effects (e.g., openness increases inequality between disciplines and universities). The workshop organizers are currently preparing a written summary of all the emergent horizon scan ideas, so stay tuned!