Fate will decide who wins the Open Research Awards
Research awards are given to the person whose research is best and who therefore deserves it the most. But the Open Science Community Groningen (OCSG) decided to do things differently. Together with the UB, they’re organising the very first Open Research Awards, which they’ll raffle off.
This is, to put it mildly, extraordinary. What is going on? ‘When research grants are awarded, a committee judges the applications by quality, but it’s never been proven that this is the best way to evaluate them’, says Vera Heininga, one of the OSCG founders. ‘There is research that shows that the committee members vary quite a bit in their rankings.’ Researchers are also dependent on who’s on the grant committee.
Many researchers say the distribution of grants feels like a lottery. ‘You’ll get a perfect score on your research, but they don’t give you the award or grant’, says Maurits Masselink, another OSCG founder. ‘Why not just make the whole thing an actual lottery? Just to acknowledge how arbitrary it is.’
Masselink and Heininga decided to use the next Open Science Event to do just that.
The Open Research Awards will be given out on October 22. All studies that have tried to meet the conditions for open science are eligible. This means that the research question needs to be clearly formulated before the start of the actual research, the research data that’s been collected has to be publicly accessible, and the peer reviews to the published article must be open access as well.
‘Open science is about doing research in a transparent, accessible, and reproducible way’, says Masselink. ‘It can’t be some kind of secret research where scientists only publish the results. The entire process has to be open for everyone to see.’
The organisation will be using an old-fashioned bingo cage to determine which applicants will be given a 500-euro grant for research materials or travel expenses.
Research financiers elsewhere in the world are also slowly switching to the lottery method. Nevertheless, the initiators are curious to know how people will react. ‘We want the researcher to discuss our method afterwards’, says organiser Babette Knauwer with the UB.
Masselink: ‘As far as we know, no one else in the Netherlands has given out awards this way before.’
Does your research match the conditions of Open Science? Are you interested in the Open Research Awards? Read how to submit your article to the Open Research Awards here.