Promote open science in public policies

One month ago The construction process is closed. Recommendations on subordinate open science United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); The next step is to present it to the Organization’s General Conference in November for approval by Member States. the document, which brought together the global consensus on open science, and embodied a multisectoral consultation process. It will set the first global standard to frame this issue.

Comment Independent expert invited by UNESCO For this building process, I leave with a bittersweet feeling. The discussion was in line with one of the most important human challenges for science in recent decades, a pandemic, and it resonated but not as often as I would have liked.

The COVID-19 pandemic vaccine begins to emerge at the end of the tunnel through Applying Open Science Logic. The intense scientific collaboration means that by sharing research data, dozens of vaccines have been produced in record time. However, at the hotspot closed with a miserable race to get a vaccine patent and your income. UNESCO’s recommendation in this regard explains the tension and shows how the logic of open science today is no longer behind the scenes, hidden, but worthy of – As mentioned in the recommendations, governments allocate 1% of the GDP. Regional and disciplinary tensions on this issue were noted during the process.

The recommendation, once accepted, will say that open science is “a global concept that brings together different movements and practices with the aim of making multilingual scientific knowledge available, accessible and reusable for all, increasing scientific collaboration and exchange. information in order to benefit science and society, and open up the evaluation and transfer of scientific knowledge to social actors outside the traditional scientific community It includes all scientific disciplines and aspects of academic practice, including basic and applied sciences, natural and social sciences and the following basic pillars: open scientific knowledge, open scientific infrastructures, scientific communication and participation In open dialogue between social actors and open dialogue with other knowledge systems.

While I succumb to consensus, I don’t do it with pain, I know this is a milestone for those of us who believe in the value of collaboration – something that is possible today on a scale. unprecedented thanks to digital technologies. I have in mind that the recommendation did not capitalize on the urgency of the pandemic to provide a response based on open science, recognizing that intellectual property is often more of a barrier than a starting point.

What UNESCO’s recommendations in the field of open science do is to propose a roadmap to mobilize the agenda locally, by asking, for example, that donors and scientific institutions promote the openness, that open science be the basis for strengthening scientific values, but also that it promotes the democratization of knowledge.

Another important aspect of the recommendation is that there is a broad consensus on open access and commitment to open data in science. These aspects are well developed in the document, but I appreciate that the text is explicit in indicating that it must go further.

I explain to them.

The value of this document is that it can allow future public policies of open science to improve the openness of the research cycle as a whole, to promote participatory science and to open spaces to talk about innovation and new aspects of open science, such as the need for exceptions. copyright for data mining or the development of funding mechanisms and approaches for laboratories or citizen spaces to experiment with open infrastructure (Unlock devices). Again, the recommendations can be a roadmap for talking about science and its outcomes of commons (those that have universal access, are democratically managed, continue to be used over time, and belong collectively).

On the other hand, the analysis and implementation of this recommendation in its justification should be transferred to political decisions in general. In other words, thinking about open science should help us ask tough questions like questioning our country’s current position on the COVID-19 vaccine. Colombia has traditionally maintained an extreme position to protect intellectual property, and in this it has maintained the same position, it does not support the proposal of South Africa and India to suspend such protection within the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a possible response to a health crisis.

This exception goes beyond patenting vaccines, as its aim is to promote technology transfer to improve country response and this includes increasing vaccine production capacity in regions – like Colombia – that do not ‘have not achieved sufficient availability for their populations, but also to make protection more flexible in order to provide a comprehensive response. The use of flexibility in the intellectual property system is one of the mechanisms that open science saves as a valid and necessary tool to protect the public interest in the development of science.

In this case, it’s not that Colombia is against it, but at one point it asked for more evidence and is now silent – beware, it’s better than against, but it is still contradictory if we considers it to be one of the countries with more deaths from the disease relative to its population – it maintains this position even when countries like the United States have already reassessed it. The WTO round of negotiations returned this week and Colombia remains silent.

With organizations from the Global South, from Charisma, where I work, we issue a new call to our governments Prioritize health and human rights over intellectual property rights and profits We ask you to support the proposal that the WTO is analyzing .


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