Mobilisation and Mutual Learning event at UJI

The 19th of January 2024 took place the “Mobilisation and Mutual Learning event: advancing towards Responsible Research Practices in UJI” at Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain.

The meeting was organised by UJI CATALISI members Ramón Feenstra, Laura Bernal, Carlota Carretero, and Elsa Gonzalez and it was attended by CATALISI members from APRE, UCC, UG, KTU, AUTH, AUMC, LUISS and also by some UJI researchers and technical staff. The goals of this event were, on the one hand, to explain the work that has been done at UJI regarding responsible research practices and research integrity and also present inspiring initiatives from other universities. On the other hand, discuss with the participants the ways in which UJI can promote a scale of indicators to measure performance on Open Access (OA) and also how to boost the involvement of UJI’s ethics committee with researchers.

On the first part of the event, three speakers shared their experience improving research assessment and research ethics structures in Spanish universities. First, Margarita Vergara (adjunct Vice-rector of Research at UJI) explained the work done at UJI regarding the transformation of research assessment criteria and also the upcoming challenges. Second, Elsa González Esteban (Vice-rector of Social Policies and CATALISI member) shared the work done in the framework of the ETHNA System project, where a set of tools for RRI were developed: an ethical code, an ethics committee, an ethical hotline and process indicators to report. Last, Alberto Pastor, from Miguel Hernández University (UMH), explained their experience implementing IRIU, a system to measure researchers’ adherence to the UMH guidelines for responsibility in research and also with the Sustainable Development Goals.

On the second part of the event, there was a co-creation session with the rest of the participants dedicated to advancing in the development of research ethics tools. During this session, moderated by Ramón Feenstra and Laura Bernal, CATALISI members and also UJI researchers and technical staff discussed the potential and also the obstacles for the implementation of a scale to measure researchers’ performance on OA and how to improve the work of the UJI ethics committee. Regarding the first topic, some questions such as the need for economic support, the need for a cultural change, making mandatory for projects with public funding to publish in OA or the promotion of role models and PhD teaming in spreading good practices in OA were brought up. Regarding the work of the ethics committee, it was suggested to implement fines or a system for reporting people who violate research integrity or to create a platform for complaints. Also, it was considered helpful for researchers to be able to see the state of the process of going through the ethics committee.

Finally, it is worth noting that, during this event, plenty of interesting ideas, reflections and discussions regarding the current state and the future of research ethics and research assessment came out. It also served to share the current state of this topic in the Spanish context and to suggest specific tools for improving its development.

 

“This event was very fruitful for reflecting about the creation of specific tools for the promotion of research ethics at UJI”
Ramon Feenstra
Associate professor at Jaume I University

How to boost open science in Spain: the new National Open Science Strategy (ENCA)

In 2023 the National Open Science Strategy (ENCA) was published in Spain. This strategy sets a series of measures and goals (promotion and strengthening of transparency, quality and reproducibility of research results) that have been promoted in the European Union for years, most recently through the European Research and Innovation Area. These issues are addressed by the ENCA with the aim of facilitating and promoting the creation of a national open science policy in Spain, also adapted to the international context. The ENCA has been developed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the General Secretary for Research, which created the Open Science Commission (OSC) at the end of 2018, coordinated by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT).

The importance of this strategy lies in the current way the scientific publication system functions. Currently, an important part of the gold open-access journals in which researchers have been encouraged to publish offer the possibility to do so in open access on the condition that researchers pay up to EUR 9,500. Money that has been generally covered by public funding. In addition to this, peer reviews are done by the researchers themselves for free. This way, researchers, and ultimately universities, have been moved to participate in a system where private entities are paid to allow access to knowledge that universities themselves produce, often, at least in Spain, with public funding. However, it is increasingly common for universities to have their own repositories where researchers upload their articles in open access.

The way in which scientific journals are being financed makes access to academic knowledge difficult. The ENCA seeks to alleviate these problems through a multidimensional approach to open science. Thus, six dimensions are distinguished around the concept of open science and its strategic implementation: open access to research results; open data, protocols and methodology; the creation of open source platforms; open peer review; the promotion of citizen science and the creation of new indicators for research assessment.

This way, the aim of ENCA is to address the question of researchers’ access to previous results and reflections so they can contrast and enrich their own studies. The actions promoted through this strategy can also derive into a transformation in the logics governing the assessment system within the research community: not only will it matter the journal’s impact factor when evaluating the worth of an article, but also how the reflections and results provided can contribute to generating knowledge with a positive impact on society.

The CATALISI project, in its implementation at Universitat Jaume I, seeks to develop interventions along the lines of ENCA. In addition to the funding of diamond journals[1] already being done at UJI, CATALISI aims to: promote the recognition of the use of public repositories as a good research practice and add peer reviewing in open access journals as a good practice in researcher assessment. Here it is worth highlighting the importance of mutual learning in the promotion of a sustainable open science, something promoted among CATALISI partners.

 

By: Carlota Carretero García, UJI

 

 

[1] Journals where all papers are open access and neither the readers or the authors need to pay for the publication.

Transformational changes underway – CATALISI workshop at UJI

As part of the series of CATALISI workshops that aim at transformation changes withing seven universities, on July 3rd CATALISI partners Universitat Jaume I (Castellón, Spain) as well as European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) introduced the project and engaged stakeholders while focusing on CATALISI intervention areas.

UJI’s workshop was divided into two parts. The first one was focused on UJI’s internal needs as an implementor whereas the second one focussed on the interaction between internal and external stakeholders (academia, business, civil society, public administrations) that exchanged and discussed their experiences.

The topics that were discussed in the first session were “research assessment, recognition of research careers and gender equality” and “public engagement and citizen science”. The participants were divided into these two thematic groups according to their expertise. Later, in the second part of the session, internal and external stakeholders discussed, again in two separate groups (according to their expertise), the topics of “gender equality” and “public engagement and citizen science”.

The diversity of the internal stakeholders, as well as the strive for the necessary transformation could be seen through the ones attending the session – from UJI’s vice rectors (of research, social policies and innovation and science outreach) to technicians with expertise on specific areas. Also, external stakeholders from different business in Castellón (specially focused on tourism), local administrations and civil society (ethical committee for tourism, local foundation for gender equality) attended the second part of the session.

The workshop was closed as a very successful one, engaging the stakeholders from quadruple helix and providing necessary feedback to implementors and just first in the line, so stay tuned for more information and insights that our stakeholders will share!