November 10 marks the World Science Day for Peace and Development.
This annual event, according to the United Nations aims to:
- Strengthen public awareness on the role of science for peaceful and sustainable societies;
- Promote national and international solidarity for shared science between countries;
- Renew national and international commitment for the use of science for the benefit of societies;
- Draw attention to the challenges faced by science and raising support for the scientific endeavour.
In essence, this day aims to keep citizens informed of the developments in science by bringing science closer to society.
One gap that must be bridged between science and society is access.
When we say access, this pertains not only to the access of the scientific community to data. Access also refers to the accessibility of our growing knowledge bases to the world outside the scientific community.
In line with this, the theme for the commemoration of World Science Day for Peace and Development this 2019 is “Open science, leaving no one behind.”
What is Open Science?
The basic tenet of Open Science is that scientific knowledge belongs to society.
Given this, collaboration is highly important to allow the growth of scientific knowledge. Subscribing to the notion of Open Science is to advocate for an intensified scientific collaboration. Not only are the researchers involved — also the society’s institutions, policymakers, business entities, and ordinary citizens.
Since scientific knowledge belongs to everyone, everyone will benefit from it. Everyone should also be capable of contributing to its growth.
Being a product of collaboration, scientific outputs should then be accessible to everyone, not only to the researchers that generated the outputs and the academic circles surrounding them.
The Open Science movement advocates for strengthened communication between the scientific community and the other stakeholders in the society.
In the very core, science is supposed to be for everyone. Because of this, some argue that referring to science as “open” is redundant.
However, the need for science to be referred to as such speaks of the current reality we are living in. The benefits of science and technology aren’t felt by everyone. The science we have right now is not inclusive. The science we have right now is far from being accessible and available for all.
Innovation is one way to make things better. There are times, however, that making things better is a matter of going back.
Openness is deeply embedded in Science’s DNA. Along the way, we lost sight of this inherent disposition. Now what we have in our hands is rich knowledge gated by gaps in accessibility, communication, and knowledge.
Let this day be a reminder for us to revive this state of openness. Let us open the gates of knowledge for everyone. It is time to allow the benefits we reap from science to flow freely for everyone to enjoy and to further build upon.