University of Konstanz: Open Science as a guiding principle

The University of Konstanz is one of the first German universities to adopt an Open Science Policy and declare a broader understanding of open research culture as one of its guiding principles.

Making all parts of the scientific process openly accessible and usable for others: this is the main target of the Open Science Policy the University of Konstanz Senate adopted on 24 November 2021. This makes the University of Konstanz one of the first German universities to officially declare the fundamentals of Open Science as a guiding principle. The Open Science Policy unites and updates two existing university policies to enable unlimited free access to scientific and scholarly publications (Open Access) and to the sustainable publication and archival of research data (research data management). The new policy complements the existing ones by adding new fields of action in educational material, science communication, software and public sector data.

© Inka Reiter

"As a university, Konstanz stands for a culture that promotes the free exchange of ideas. Our Open Science Policy reflects how we see research: open, transparent and sustainable."

Professor Katharina Holzinger, Rector of the University of Konstanz

A trailblazing university in the area of Open Access
For years now, the University of Konstanz has played a trailblazing role in Germany with its existing Open Access Strategy. It adopted an Open Access Policy in 2012 and ranks first nationwide with its high share of Open Access publications (significantly more than 70 percent), as regularly confirmed by the renowned CWTS Leiden Ranking. In 2018, the University of Konstanz additionally spotlighted the aspect of research data management in a second policy: a self-commitment to process research data in a structured way and store them in the long term so they are verifiable and usable for others. Ever since, the researchers at the university have been encouraged by the policy to make their research data publicly available, if permitted.

"The Open Access Policy and Research Data Management Policy were the first important building blocks for making research at the University of Konstanz more open, accessible and transparent, which also contributes to the quality of research. Our publication and research data repositories provide university members with the necessary technical infrastructure", explains Petra Hätscher, director of the university's Communication, Information, Media Centre (KIM). "However, the idea of Open Science goes much further".

New measures and fields of action
Since November 2020 and involving different actors, the University of Konstanz has worked on developing the Open Science Policy that has now been adopted. The policy is part of the university's e-science strategy, which is funded in the context of the German Excellence Strategy. The new Open Science Policy integrates and updates the previous policies and also includes additional fields of action in the area of Open Science. Specifically, these areas are "Open Educational Resources" (OER), "science communication", "free software" and "open public sector data".

In terms of OER, the University of Konstanz encourages its members to use, create and publish free educational material. In doing so, it is following a UNESCO recommendation adopted in 2019, which sees free educational materials as an important instrument for achieving equal opportunities and high-quality education for lifelong learning. In the area of "science communication", the Open Science Policy sets the goal of promoting open and generally understandable communication of scientific processes.

In the field of action "free software", the University of Konstanz recommends, among other things, that its members publish software developed at the university under a free licence and thus make it usable for everybody for free. Through the item "open public sector data", the University of Konstanz broadens its understanding of transparency and freely accessible information beyond science and commits to publishing public sector data in a suitable form and in accordance with data protection and personality rights.

Dr Daniel Schmidtke

By Dr Daniel Schmidtke - 08.12.2021