Assessment of open science in grant applications

From 2023, open research will be incorporated into the assessment criteria for Researcher Projects and Collaborative and Knowledge-building Projects on open science practice. Here we explain how you can best respond to these assessment criteria when applying for funding.

Through the panel assessment of grant applications, the referees determine how well the grant applications satisfy the various assessment criteria. The assessment of what constitutes good and appropriate open science practice will be made by experts in the various subject areas. The referees often have experience from Horizon Europe and are used to assessing open research in grant applications on the basis of their subject areas.

The referees are to assess open science practice through two subsections of the criterion 'Impact':

How should you respond to the point "potential impact of the proposed research "?

The criterion states: The extent to which the planned outputs are openly accessible to ensure reusability of the research outputs and enhance reproducibility.

It is important that you make good plans for how you intend to reuse the research results that emerge in the project. In addition, it is important that research results are easy to verify, for example by making research data available.

Examples of open science practices that increase reproducibility and potential reuse of the results include making research data FAIR, early sharing through pre-registration and preprints, open access to software, workflows, tools, etc.

You can describe what data, software, algorithms, protocols, models, workflows, electronic notebooks, and other tools or instruments are needed to better reuse or validate the research results you expect.

If you believe that open science practice should not apply to the project, you must provide an explanation of this in the project description.

Some research results cannot be made openly available. In the Research Council's Policy on Open Science, we mention some clear exceptions, such as if making research results available may threaten the security of individuals or national security, if such practices are in breach of applicable data protection regulations or other legal provisions. You should describe this in the project description if relevant.

How should you respond to the point "communication and exploitation"?

The criterion states: The extent to which the appropriate open science practices are implemented as an integral part of the proposed project to ensure open sharing and wide distribution of research outputs.

Describe to what extent and how you will adopt early and open sharing. For example, you can mention what type of early and open sharing is appropriate for your discipline and project, such as preprints, pre-registration, and/or registration reports, and which publishing platforms you plan to use.

We demand full and immediate open access to all scientific publications from the projects we fund. You can elaborate on which archiving solutions will be used for publications and research data.


Why open science practice is now a part of the criteria

Open science has gone from a research policy goal to becoming "the new norm" for research and knowledge sharing. Horizon Europe has incorporated open science into most of its calls for proposals, expert assessments, contract terms and conditions, and expectations of how research will be carried out and communicated. 

The fact that the Research Council is moving in the same direction helps to improve the coherence between national and international competitive arenas for research and to qualify Norwegian researchers to apply for calls under Horizon Europe.

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