Meaningful public engagement in the context of open science: reflections from early and mid-career academics

Paper by Wouter Boon et al: “How is public engagement perceived to contribute to open science? This commentary highlights common reflections on this question from interviews with 12 public engagement fellows in Utrecht University’s Open Science Programme in the Netherlands. We identify four reasons why public engagement is an essential enabler of open science. Interaction between academics and society can: (1) better align science with the needs of society; (2) secure a relationship of trust between science and society; (3) increase the quality and impact of science; and (4) support the impact of open access and FAIR data practices (data which meet principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability). To be successful and sustainable, such public engagement requires support in skills training and a form of institutionalisation in a university-wide system, but, most of all, the fellows express the importance of a formal and informal recognition and rewards system. Our findings suggest that in order to make public engagement an integral part of open science, universities should invest in institutional support, create awareness, and stimulate dialogue among staff members on how to ‘do’ good public engagement….(More)”.