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“What if they die?” Presenting the SODA project at the ULB and VUB Mini Open Science Fair

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02/12/2019 - Research - National Archives of Belgium

The Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) organized a conference about open science on Wednesday 23 October 2019. The SODA team was there to present our project, whose goals of preserving research data and making them available for reuse is a concrete effort towards a more open science.

Françoise Vandooren of the Archives and Libraries of the ULB opened the conference by quoting from the European Commission’s recommendations on open science. If indeed open science “refers to a new approach to the scientific process based on cooperative work and new ways of disseminating knowledge, improving accessibility to and re-usability of research outputs by using digital technologies and new collaborative tools” (source) then, F. Vandooren asks, isn’t it “just science done right?” Those just happen to be the objectives of the SODA project.

Still, highlighting the work of scientists and research centers has many implications. Although researchers may decide to some extent whether or not their data can be accessed by others, a member of the audience asked a question of vital importance: what if (or what when) a researcher passes away? Laura Van den Borre, who represents the VUB in the SODA project team, answered that research centers ought to anticipate such events with contract provisions that ensure the proper transfer of the rights over research data.

By encouraging researchers to deposit their data in a specialized repository, the SODA project aims to participate in the open science endeavor both in Belgium and elsewhere in the world.

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