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Young Scientists Learning Open Science, PRIA@40 Conversation

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Date(s) - 25/11/2021
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

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“[There are] three main dimensions of scientific openness: openness to publications and data, openness to society, and openness to excluded knowledges and epistemologies.” (Policy brief, Open Science Beyond Open Access) 

The final draft of the UNESCO Open Science Recommendation, which incorporates  these expanded meanings of ‘open science’, has now been adopted by Member States this month in Paris. Similar ideas are incorporated  in the final draft of the 5th National Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Policy of the Government of India. The Science Social Responsibility (SSR) policy of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, already makes mention of the need for engaging with diverse stakeholders as a way to improve the impacts of science for society.

Likewise, the UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers adopted in 2017 has particular value today, especially in the Global South, in recognising the role of science in promoting “common good”, and in emphasing the use of results of scientific research and development with a spirit of responsibility towards humankind and the environment

The pandemic of the past two years have brought into public debate the roles of science, scientists and science research institutions. It has created a context where connections between science and society need to be placed on a new framework of openness and mutuality.

Such UNESCO  recommendations create a space for science and technology systems and institutions to change and become more “open”. New conversations among scientists, scientific communicators, scientific researchers and civil society has begun to emerge the need for a robust ecosystem of support to make science work with for and society. The experiences of the pandemic have also generated greater public discourse about the accountability of science to society. In many regions of the world, new ways of promoting public engagement with and for science have been practiced through an enabling policy framework. European Union’s focus on Responsible Research & Innovations (RRI) has integrated several such features.There is now growing recognition to synergise knowledge production and dissemination on such critical issues as environment, health and food systems being carried out  on the ground by a host of civil society actors in the country. Community-based participataory research is now being carried out locally through partnerships of academi with local communities.

In its work towards building  knowledge democracy, PRIA has argued that higher education  be valued as a “public good”, to build ethical, anchoring and facilitative civic commitment of higher education and research institutions with and in society. The pathway to knowledge democracy recognises that ideas, innovations and methods generated in the academy  contribute to building a sustainable future, and support social, economic and institutional systems to change and respond to the needs of everyone, so that ‘no one is left behind’. Supporting  young scientists and researchers in India to become aware of these responsibilities, irrespective of where they work, to have a holistic, up-to-date and comprehensive understanding of contemporary global trends, policies and discourses in respect of science with and for society is an important aspect of this work.

As PRIA completes 40 years, a digital conversation on “Young Scientists Learning Open Science” was convened on 25 November 2021 from 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm IST, in partnership with UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher EducationDST-Centre for Policy Research, Indian Institute of ScienceBengaluru and DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance to discuss the implications of the UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers, the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, Science with & for society, and the Government of India’s STI Policy, with special focus on:

  • Responsible Research and Innovation
  • Public engagement
  • Science communication
  • Inclusion of multiple epistemologies and experiential knowledge in scientific research
  • Ethical issues in open source publications, field research and Indigenous protocols


Programme Agenda

3:30- 3:40 pm

Welcome, introduction and PRIA@40 Presentation by Ms. Sumitra Srinivasan, Lead-Knowledge Management and Communications, PRIA 

3:40-3:47 pm

Opening remarks by Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, AS, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India 

3:47-4.00 pm

UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers by Dr. Andrew Adams, Meiji University 

  • What are the specific recommendations around ethics, public/community engagement and inclusion of multiple sources of knowledge? Do the recommendations speak to how young scientists can learn these ideas, and what institutions can do to support them?

UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science by Dr. Geoffrey Boulton, International Science Council 

  • What are the key messages from the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science? How is the International Science Council taking measures to support the implementation of the Recommendation?

Audience Q&A 

4:08-4.23 pm

Understanding Principles

Open communication of science by Jenice Goveas, DST-STI Postdoctoral Policy Fellow, DST-Centre for Policy Research, IISc, Bangalore (5 mins)

  • In the context of the STIP, how can communication of science become more open? What does it mean, and what practical individual actions can scientists and scientific researchers take to show their commitment to open science?

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and open science by Dr. H.A.J. (Henk) Mulder, University of Groningen, The NetherlandsProgramme Director, Master, Science Education and Communication. Science Shop Coordinator @ Science LinX (5 mins)

  • The role of networking in building a culture of responsible research in science and the history of the science shop movement

Do scientists have human rights? by Ms. Niharika Kaul, Research Associate, PRIA and UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education

  •  The openness of science is grounded in human rights, but can lead to ‘conflict’ when adopted by young scientists – how to negotiate such conflict?

4:23 to 5.08

Practice and Action-Learning

Public engagement in science in India by Ms. Nicolette Jadhav, Manager – Branding, Communications and Public Engagement at India Alliance (5 mins)

  •  What is the current climate for public engagement in science in India and what are funders like DBT Alliance doing to support it? Share some preliminary results from the recent survey done by the India Alliance.

Building a digital platform for open science publishing in India by Dr. Moumita Koley, STI Policy Researcher, STIP Secretariat, DST-CPR, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (5 mins)

  •  Experiences in leveraging technology for promoting open science

Ethical issues and community protocols for open science by Dr. Bhavani Rao R., Director, AMMACHI Labs, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (5 mins)

  • Can ‘ethics’ be learnt? What kinds of ethical issues do young scientists and scientific researchers need to bear in mind when engaging with communities?

Gender inclusivity in STI Policy in India by Dr. Nimita Pandey, STI Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Science & Technology – Centre for Policy Research, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and UNESCO New Delhi cluster office (5 mins)

  • Gender inclusion in science policy and what changes do institutions need to make for young scientists to be able to practice these policy recommendations?

Building the STI ecosystem by Sarah Iqbal, Independent Consultant, Foundation for Advancing Science and Technology (FAST India) and Strategic Adviser for the India Science Festival (5 mins)

  • Strengthening the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) ecosystem in India through Policy reforms, Government Engagement and Support, Capacity Building for Institutions, Engagement with the Corporate Sector and Science Communication. 

4:48-5:05 pm

Audience Q&A 

5:05-5:30 pm

Closing Remarks and Key Takeaways

Closing remarks by other invited discussants 

Key takeaways by Dr Rajesh Tandon, Founder-President, PRIA, and UNESCO Co-ChairUNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education 

Read the event report here:



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