University Libraries and Open Science

While Open Science has not necessarily been developed as a movement directly targeting university libraries, it is not irrelevant to those libraries, since the idea of Open Science progresses through the distribution and sharing of academic resources, which has historically been their core mission. The movement of making academic papers open access (OA) has been driven by university libraries worldwide as a way to tackle the soaring subscription costs of academic journals, and university library consortiums in each country have been taking leading roles in negotiations with commercial publishers. Additionally, the libraries of many universities have been tasked with making their researchers' publications OA by providing institutional repositories.

When it comes to managing and sharing research data, no person, institution, or profession has yet to take up a leadership role, nor does any of those seem to have a clear understanding of how it should be done. There are numerous questions that must be addressed, including, "How should research data be managed as starting to be required by the funding agencies?" "How should the research data be preserved to pass them down to the next generation?" and "What annotations and metadata should be attributed to make research data findable and reusable?"

Researchers, in general, have a deep understanding of the data that they produce, but when it comes to disseminating the data beyond their own research community for the benefit of the society, they do not have the necessary expertise to do so in an efficient and effective way. On the other hand, since it has always the mission of university libraries to support researchers by managing and providing academic resources, such knowledge could also be used to manage and to disseminate research data. Although the search is still ongoing for effective ways to manage research data, once managed properly, the results could provide a significant benefit to humanity by leading to interdisciplinary research and social problem-solving activities. Libraries are the key to success, and now is the time for university libraries to stand up and contribute to the process of research data management and Open Science.