Open science in Lithuania

Achievements and impact of EIFL’s support for open access and open science in Lithuania

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A group of researchers and scientists promoting open access at a meeting.
Campaigners promoting open access in Lithuania.

OVERVIEW 

On 30 April 2009, the law on Higher Education and Research stipulated that the results of all research carried out in state higher education and research institutions must be communicated to the public.

This was a big step forward for open access. However, there was no coherent national or institutional open access policy in Lithuania, and awareness about open access and how open access benefits research was limited.

In 2011, a survey of the Association of Lithuanian Serials (an umbrella organization for Lithuanian research journals) showed that the majority of Lithuanian research journals were uploaded to journal websites, but discoverability and visibility of Lithuanian research remained limited.

From 2011 to 2013 EIFL funded three projects to raise awareness about open access in Lithuania and to demonstrate its benefits to stakeholders, including young researchers; to improve journal publishing practices, and to take forward discussion of national and institutional open access policies. The three projects were:

  • ‘Promoting OA in Lithuania’, a project implemented by the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium (the case study is available here);
  • ‘Promoting OA through implementation of the Open Journal Systems (OJS) in Lithuanian research journals’, a project implemented by the Association of Lithuanian Serials and the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium (the case study is available here); and
  • ‘Promoting OA to young researchers’, a project implemented by the Lithuanian Society of Young Researchers, the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium, and the Association of Lithuanian Serials (the case study is available here).

EIFL continued to support open access in Lithuania through three European Commission-funded projects: PASTEUR4OA (Open Access Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research) from 2014 - 2016; FOSTER (Facilitating Open Science Training for European Research) from 2014 - 2019, and OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe) from 2009 - 2020.

In 2019, EIFL joined a project, ‘Research Data Management: Awareness Raising and Support’, to raise awareness about and support Research Data Management (RDM) in Lithuania. RDM is a core component of open science and a growing number of research funders in Europe and in Lithuania now require researchers to include RDM plans in their research proposals. The project is supported by Research Data Alliance (RDA) Europe, a membership-driven organization that promotes the growth of openness in research, and open science principles and practices. 

MAIN ACTIVITIES

  • Hosting meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences to raise awareness about open access, open data, open science and altmetrics;
  • A survey of administrators of research and educational institutions to collect their opinions about introducing open access policies and practices in their institutions;
  • Providing advice on national and institutional open access and open science policies;
  • A survey of current open access policies and practices among the publishers of Lithuanian research journals;
  • Conducting video interviews with prominent scientists, publishers, policy makers, administrators of research and educational institutions on open access benefits, policies and practices, and using videos to promote open access ;
  • Sharing experiences and best practices in open access publishing and developing recommendations for journal editors and publishers on how to implement Open Journal Systems in Lithuanian academic and research institutions;
  • Developing online courses on open science for PhD students.

TIMELINE

2011 - ongoing

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Increased awareness of the Lithuanian research community and policy-makers about the benefits of open access , open data and open science.
  • Introduced  the free and open source publishing software Open Journal Systems (OJS) to Lithuanian publishers: 
    • For example, Kaunas University of Technology, which owns 11 journals, had just one OJS installation before the project started; during the project period, all eleven journals started using OJS.
    • 35 journals from research institutes had moved to the OJS publishing platform by the end of 2011.
    • OJS streamlined journal editing and publishing processes - for example, after OJS installation, the journal ‘Sveikatos mokslai’ (in English, Health Sciences) was able to increase the frequency of publication from four to six issues a year.
  • Improved online visibility and accessibility of Lithuanian research journals:  Journals started using Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), Cited By (functionality by crossref.org) and plagiarism detection tools (CrossCheck by crossref.org and iThenticate).  By 2020, 84 journals from Lithuania had  been registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
  • National open access and open science working groups were created: In 2013, a national open access working group was created to implement the recommendations on open access for funding agencies and research institutions that resulted from the three EIFL-funded projects (2011 - 2013). In 2020, the Minister of Education, Science and Sport set up a national Open Science Working Group tasked with developing a national open science policy.
  • The Research Council of Lithuania adopted Guidelines for Open Access to Research Results: The Guidelines encourage other research performing institutions in the country to adopt similar open access and open research data policies. The Electronic Academic Library of Lithuania (eLABa) serves as  the national open access repository of the Ministry of Education and Science and all academic institutions.
  • More institutions adopted open access policies and mandates: Among them are the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Mykolas Romeris University, Vytautas Magnus University,  Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences,  Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and Kaunas University of Technology.
  • Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) developed an accredited online course on Research Data Management for PhD students: The KTU Research Data Management module (six ECTS credits, European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) was approved in June 2017 by the Committee of the Joint Doctoral Programme in Educational Science. (Read more about the course in 'Training Researchers for the Future', a feature published in EIFL's 2018 Annual Report.)
  • KTU has become the National Node for the Research Data Alliance: The National Node builds capacities of researchers to share data and sets up support structures in the country.