The road to the Open Science Recommendation being adopted commenced with a resolution from the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2019, where 193 Member States tasked UNESCO with the development of an international standard-setting instrument.

That instrument, the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, has now been adopted by Member States at the Science Commission plenary at its 41st General Conference, paving the way for it to be passed at the full General Conference.

In this context, the International Science Council, in its convening role as the global voice for science, has reaffirmed that advocating and advancing open science is fundamental to the work of achieving the Council’s vision of science as a global public good. This journey to the Recommendation on Open Science being adopted has included surveying ISC members that contributed to an ISC discussion paper on Open Science for the 21st Century, convening ISC members at the UNESCO Special Committee meeting on Open Science, in May 2021 resulting in a public statement, contributing more broadly to the discussion with the newly published Science as a Global Public Good position paper, and backed up by a resolution on Open Science and publishing reform passed at the ISC’s recent triennial assembly.

Geoffrey Boulton an ISC Governing Board member intervened for the ISC, and warned the conference that:

The fundamental principles of Open Science are close to crisis point. An increasingly dysfunctional science publishing system undermines the scrutiny that is vital to the maintenance of scientific rigour, inhibiting access to the record of science in ways that undermine global inclusion which in turn risks the loss of public trust.

Megha Sud, ISC Science Officer and project lead for Open Science said:

While there was a palpable sense of buoyancy in the room of having achieved this milestone, there is also a realization that the real work begins now. The implementation of the Recommendation will need to be undertaken with the science community at the centre, and with a keen eye on the potentials to be realized and pitfalls to be avoided as the science system evolves in response to these efforts.

Read the full intervention by Geoffrey Boulton here.