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Press release: The French Academy of Sciences confirms its commitment to open and ethically acceptable science

Press release from the French Academy of Sciences - Paris, 27 January 2022

In an opinion it is publishing today, the Academy of Sciences, a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration, now known as DORA, reaffirms its support for national and international initiatives that work for open, ethical, and transparent science. As a prelude to the European Open Science Days (OSEC) to be held on 4 and 5 February 2022 within the framework of the French Presidency of the European Union and of which it is co-organizer, and on the deployment of the second national plan for open science, the Academy of Sciences intends to promote the essential transition towards a wider opening of science and the data that accompany it. It thus draws up an inventory of scientific publishing and establishes a series of recommendations aimed at encouraging and putting into practice the principles of open science.

Open science aims to make "accessible as much as possible and closed as much as necessary" the products and results of research, mostly from public funds in order to democratize knowledge and share with as many people as possible the advances of science. This desire is made possible by the progress of digital technology.
However, obstacles are holding back the evolution of this virtuous movement. With only 41.8% of the opening rate of publications, France is lagging far behind in this area. This delay is explained by the very high costs of disseminating scientific knowledge and the preference given to certain closed journals considered very prestigious for the valuation of the careers and work of researchers. To make up for this delay, the Academy insists on the necessary evolution of publication practices and methods of evaluating research.
In particular, it recommends improving the publication system for research products and promoting "biblio-diversity". As such, Les Comptes Rendus de l'Acad mie des sciences, a historical publication of the Acad mie des sciences are, for example, accessible online under the formula of "open access diamond" which makes all articles permanently available worldwide, without any financial burden, either for readers or for authors. The Academy of Sciences recognizes that the visibility of the results of validated research on institutional servers must be taken into account equitably by the evaluation committees.
The Academy of Sciences calls for vigilance regarding the sharing of sensitive biological data, so that they are deposited in open databases.
The Academy of Sciences again recommends, as it did it in the past, to change the criteria of any evaluation, often limited to bibliometric aspects only and systematically based on publication indicators. If it has to be recalled, research should be evaluated on its intrinsic value rather than on the basis of the journal in which it is published.
Finally, the Academy of Sciences encourages the awareness of as many researchers as possible to the advantage and modalities of open science and evaluation from doctoral studies. Training students in scientific assessment and integrity and more particularly encouraging the introduction of teaching modules on these subjects in all doctoral schools is paramount.


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