Open science in researcher's daily work
Salla Tuomola, a journalism researcher specialising in populist counter-media, aims to highlight the inequalities in the right of people and groups of people to form their own worldviews and make the voices of marginalised groups heard.
She sees that open science is a key element in her work as a researcher, not only in terms of the findability of information but also in terms of sharing the research results:
– In fact, it is difficult to understand anything other than open science and Open Access publishing. If science is not open, discussion will quickly stop or be reduced to the privilege of a small group. The significance of one's own contribution suffers if it cannot be openly shared.
Becoming familiar with the ways and practices of sharing publications
In addition to the article databases provided by the university library, Salla has also made use of Open Access articles of interest to her research topic, which she has been able to access through various social media or open platforms.
Publishing the research results open access is encouraged both by her own unit and by research funders. Salla has published in journals with which the university has an agreement on OA publishing. Open Access publishing and self-archiving have also made it possible to share her own work on various platforms, such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu. In addition, she has actively communicated the results of her research on social media platforms and sent the results of research projects directly to the media in the form of a press release.
Challenges remain with regard to opening research data
According to Salla, there is no clear incentive from the academic world to share research data or to re-use data previously collected by other researchers. According to her, when you plan data collection, and collect it yourself there is a personal relationship with the data, which can be more challenging to achieve if the data has been collected by someone else.
– However, if I were to find my own, personal and new approach to the material collected by someone else, I am sure I would have an equally close and committed relationship with it. If there were data available that is really laborious to collect and would be of clear benefit to my own research interests, I would be very grateful to be able to take advantage of the work already done in terms of data collection, she says.
Opening one's own data involves many questions in the field of research Salla represents. In the case of confidentially collected interview data, where full anonymisation is challenging, opening and sharing the data requires advance planning. Ethical considerations should be made well in advance so that no obstacles to reuse of the material arise, at least not due to careless or inadequate preparation. On the other hand, open metadata alone can achieve wider visibility. Information on existing data can give someone else interested in the subject ideas to take their own project forward.
Open access to research results is vital for society
Despite certain challenges, Salla feels that sharing research results is vital, both in academia and in society at large. Science and research are based on the discussion arising from the sharing of research results, which also makes science self-correcting. If there is no access to research results, it is impossible to have a wider social debate and, in extreme, the whole idea of science is destroyed.
The openness of research is also in the interest of a small nation and its researchers. When research results are regularly published in international publications, researchers participate in the international scientific debate in their field. This broadens perspectives on topics that have their origins in different cultural and social contexts. Internationality is of paramount importance for an individual researcher from a small language area.
Salla Tuomola, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher in journalism at Tampere University. She is currently involved in the multidisciplinary DECA project, which studies the epistemic understanding of counter-public authorities, i.e. perceptions of the construction, production and sharing of knowledge. Tuomola's doctoral dissertation in journalism Hyvä, katala vastajulkisuus: Populistisen vastamedian julkisen puhuttelun tavat maahanmuutto- ja pakolaiskeskustelussa was examined at Tampere University in March 2023.
Authored by Information Specialist Päivi Kanerva
English translation by Sari Leppänen