Can open science be a space for public engagement with science?
Demands for openness and access to data are transforming the way science is conducted. The recent Royal Society report Science as an open enterprise explicitly acknowledged the increased demand from citizens, civic groups and non-governmental organisations for access to the evidence that will enable them to scrutinise conclusions and participate effectively in research. The report concluded that this trend has the potential to blur the professional/amateur divide and shift the social dynamics of science. Conducting research in the open makes possible the involvement of new, possibly public, participants and creates potential spaces for dialogue and engagement. Members of the public can scrutinise, co-create or contribute to research, or possibly conduct their own research using publicly-available information. How can professional researchers take the needs of such new participants into account? Indeed, can they or should they respond such demands? Will public participants need to develop new skills if their contributions are to be valued? Ann has recently completed PhD research in Open Science and Public Engagement, looking at ways in which the emerging ideas and practice of open science can be a medium for public access to and involvement in the process of science and an innovative method for real-time science communication.
Ann Grand gave this presentation as part of the University of Exeter's Open Access Week events in October 2012.