The Open Science Community Utrecht (OSCU) was founded in 2018 by Anita Eerland and Loek Brinkman, because they were convinced of two things:
(1) Science is beautiful
(2) Science can be done better
Science allows for a better understanding of the world we live in, better informed choices and an improved quality of life. Yet, science can be more efficient, reliable, and inclusive. Open Science provides the tools to put this to practice.
Pioneering researchers and policy makers explore ways to make science more open, but to date, Open Science is not yet mainstream. OSCU was established to facilitate the uptake of Open Science practices, in particular by appealing to newcomers to Open Science. The goals of OSCU are to (1) promote knowledge exchange regarding Open Science practices among coworkers, (2) inspire and enable researchers to take their first/next small step into the world of Open Science, and (3) provide input on Open Science policies, infrastructure, and support services (re)shaping the transition to Open Science (4) explore and open-up collaborations between academics and societal stakeholders, to meet, inspire and co-create.
In the first two years, OSCU welcomed over 300 members representing all faculties at Utrecht University and all career stages. Among the events organized by OSCU are workshops, symposia, and online OSCoffee hours. Utrecht University recognized the importance of OSCU and financially supports this initiative from 2019. This funding allowed for the expansion of the OSCU Core Team with seven Faculty Ambassadors. These ambassadors represent OSCU on the faculty level, organize local events, and report on issues related to Open Science that need attention.
OSCU inspired others to set up similar communities at their universities. Following their lead, almost all Dutch universities now have an Open Science Community in place. Even abroad people picked up on this format resulting in an International Network of Open Science and Scholarship Communities (INOSC).
Open Science is gaining momentum and Open Science Communities are accelerating and shaping this transition. Interesting times are ahead of us, but one thing is certain: The future of science is open!