The National Open Science and Research Coordination (AVOTT) celebrated its fifth anniversary, at the end of May 2023.
The action plan for establishing national coordination, facilitated by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV), was published on 28 May 2018. This coordination, strongly based on collaboration within the entire research community, involves universities, universities of applied sciences, research institutes, funders, libraries, and archives. The management of the entity is carried out by a secretariat that operates in the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Where did it all begin?
The coordination of open science and research is rooted in the Open Science and Research project led by the Ministry of Education and Culture from 2014 to 2017. The project was based on broad collaborative efforts between ministries, higher education institutions, research institutes, and research funders.
In the summer of 2017,Universities Finland UNIFI, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture, launched its Open Science and Data (ATD) project. Its purpose was to determine how the Finnish research community could continue to promote open science in the future. At the same time, the Ministry of Education and Culture was searching for alternatives regarding which actor in the research community could continue to promote Finnish open science. TSV, which had already been recognized as a promoter of open research publication, was highlighted as an option. Lea Ryynänen-Karjalainen, Executive Director of TSV, was also involved in the ATD project, and the operational program was published on 28 May 2018, expressing the need for an open science coordination body. Finally, the responsibility for organizing the body was assumed by the Open Science and Research Secretariat established within TSV.
Initially, the AVOTT secretariat consisted only of the Development Manager (later Secretary General) Henriikka Mustajoki. However, a senior planning officer (later an senior specialist), Ilmari Jauhiainen, was hired in September 2018. In April 2019, another senior planning officer was hired, following an increase in international responsibilities. The position is currently held by senior specialist Hanna Lahdenperä. In May 2022, the latest addition to the permanent section of the Secretariat was senior specialist Marita Kari, who has a special responsibility for monitoring open science and research in Finland.
During the Secretary-General's leave in 2022 and 2023, Jonni Karlsson has been working as a senior planning officer. Additionally, senior specialist Elina Koivisto is involved in the Rosie (Responsible Open Science in Europe) project, which combines open science and research ethics.
An internationally unique way of working
The first tangible outputs of the AVOTT coordination include the Declaration on Open Science and Research 2020-2025 (link). The Declaration presents a common vision for the Finnish research community. This vision states that open science and research should be integrated into researchers' everyday work, supporting not only the effectiveness of research outputs but also the quality of research. Furthermore, the vision envisions the Finnish research community as an international forerunner in open science and research.
The coordination takes pride in the fact that the Declaration has been signed by 72 higher education institutions, research institutes, and actors in the research community, as well as 85 individuals.
Another source of pride is the skilled and dedicated network of open science and research experts that has been built over the past five years. The members of the network participate in the co-creation of the national policies of open science, thereby enabling the entire AVOTT coordination.
"We have succeeded in creating a network of experts that, through collaborative discussions, can overcome even the toughest obstacles in promoting open science. The biggest thanks for the success of the coordination belong to all the members of the expert network," says Ilmari Jauhiainen, expert at the AVOTT Secretariat.
Currently, the network consists of nearly 400 experts representing more than 40 organizations and actors.
From an action plan to the everyday life of researchers
Over the past five years, the activities of the AVOTT coordination have become established and found their place in the scientific community. This has given rise to permanent national tasks, such as the monitoring of open science and research (link), which examines the implementation of the policies.
During the year of the fifth anniversary, the first version of the Open Science and Research Reference Architecture (link) will also be completed. This architecture will map the capabilities and conditions of the key actors necessary for the realization of open science. The reference architecture will specify what kind of services research organizations should offer to researchers, such as opening research publications or learning materials.
The coordination is currently moving into a new phase. After defining the objectives and actions required for national open science and research during the first years, the focus now shifts to strengthening and supporting open science in the practical, everyday work of researchers.
An important step in this direction is a new impetus for collaboration with learned societies. For example, the Open Science for Learned Societies working group is currently planning guidelines for promoting different areas of openness.
Forerunners in international collaboration
The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) was officially established on 23 November 2018. The AVOTT coordination has actively participated in EOSC's Finnish activities from the beginning. From 2019 to 2020, the Secretary General of Open Science represented Finland in the EOSC sustainability working group. In January 2021, the EOSC Finnish Forum (EOSC-FF) was established by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Academy of Finland, TSV, and CSC. EOSC-FF provides an open community for Finnish research, development, and innovation actors to discuss and exchange ideas related to EOSC. The openscience.fi website serves as a key communication channel for EOSC-FF, informing the expert community about upcoming events and publishing important EOSC news.
The coordination also actively collaborates with other national open science and research coordination projects. Finland is one of the founding countries of the Council for National Open Science Coordination (CoNOSC) network, which began operations in 2019. The Secretary General of Finland's Open Science also served as the first chair of CoNOSC.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in the coordination!
The vision of the Declaration of Open Science and Research states that open science and research should be integrated into researchers' everyday work, supporting not only the effectiveness of research outputs but also the quality of research. Furthermore, the vision envisions the Finnish research community as an international forerunner in open science and research.
While there is still work to be done to fully implement this vision, progress has certainly been made over the last five years. Thank you to everyone who has contributed in implanting the vision!