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Barcelona Declaration promotes openness of research information

April 16th, 2024


Today the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information, signed by over 40 organizations, including prominent universities and research funders, was published. The Barcelona Declaration marks a milestone in the ongoing transition to open research information. CWTS is proud to be one of the initiators of the Declaration. Leiden University is among the first signatories of the Declaration. According to Hester Bijl, rector of Leiden University, the Barcelona Declaration “will help make the research ecosystem more diverse, inclusive and transparent”.

At CWTS we have a long history as a leading research center in the field of bibliometrics and scientometrics. Bibliometric databases such as Web of Science and Scopus have been of tremendous importance for the work of our center. However, the proprietary nature of these databases has been a growing concern for us.

In the Leiden Manifesto, published in 2015, we emphasized the importance of openness and transparency in the use of bibliometric indicators for research evaluation. More recently, we contributed to the Seven Guiding Principles for Open Research Information. These principles have been adopted by the Dutch universities. By supporting the Initiative for Open Citations and the Initiative for Open Abstracts, we have also been actively involved in promoting openness of metadata of scientific publications.

In the knowledge agenda of our center, introduced in 2023, openness of research information is one of the key priorities. Our Information & Openness focal area aims “to make openness of research information the norm and to enable more transparent and responsible approaches to decision making in science”. This also means that “within the next few years, we want our work at CWTS (including CWTS BV) to be fully based on open research information”. A concrete example of this transition is the launch of the Leiden Ranking Open Edition in January this year. While the traditional Leiden Ranking is based on proprietary Web of Science data, the Open Edition uses open data from OpenAlex, providing a ranking tool that is fully transparent and reproducible. Openness of research information also plays a prominent role in the agenda of our UNESCO Chair on Diversity and Inclusion in Global Science, for which the more inclusive nature of open databases is of major importance.

For us at CWTS the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information signifies a crucial next step in the transition to open research information. The over 40 signatories of the Declaration have made a powerful commitment to make openness the default for the research information they use and produce. These organizations are joining forces to realize full openness of research information.

The transition to open research information will not be easy, but it is essential to make sure the academic community remains in control of the data it uses to perform evaluations, make strategic decisions, and set priorities. We invite all research organizations and research funders globally to join the transition to open research information and to consider signing the Barcelona Declaration.

More information about the Barcelona Declaration will be provided in a webinar on April 23 (13.00-14.30h CEST). Register here to attend this webinar.

Header image by Marco Da Silva on Unsplash

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