ORFG Collaborates with National Academies on Bold Project to Re-Align Research Incentives

The Open Research Funders Group is honored to collaborate with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) in the launch of a Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science. The multiyear project will convene critical stakeholders to fundamentally improve the correlation between open practices, credit/reward systems, and research missions & values.

The first convening was held on Monday, February 25. It was co-chaired by Keith Yamamoto, Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy at University of California, San Francisco and a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine, and Tom Kalil, Chief Innovation Officer of Schmidt Futures, and former Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Roundtable members draw from senior leadership at universities, federal agencies, philanthropies, international bodies, and other strategic organizations. A complete list may be found here.

At the conclusion of the three-year Roundtable process, participants will have gained a collective understanding of the actions that agencies, funders, and higher education institutions can take to realign their respective reward structures. This consensus understanding will ideally serve as a concrete blueprint for stakeholders to customize and adopt to properly incentivize open science practices. Roundtable participants will be encouraged to test these blueprints over the course of the project, sharing their experiences under a “community of practice” model.

The inaugural meeting provided participants with an opportunity to discuss, refine, and agree upon the core problems, opportunities, and approaches. With this consensus in place, Roundtable members will collaborate to test a number of hypotheses in advance of the next convening (fall, 2019). At a higher level, we have also begun to discuss what a system that appropriately rewards open practices looks like, as well as the tools, information, and support key stakeholders need in order to transition to this model. We further plan to consider how classes of stakeholders (e.g., universities, government agencies, philanthropic funders) can harmonize their approaches to reward systems to provide a more homogenous set of expectations among researchers.

The Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science is an ambitious effort to update credit/reward systems to better reflect 21st century research practices and values. The ORFG is pleased to be engaged in this conversation, and we are excited to be working collaboratively with our peers in higher education, governmental agencies, and adjacent spaces. This process will maximize coordination and increase the likelihood of coherent, durable incentive structures.