Y Kondo*
*RIHN Center, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, 457-4 Kamigamo-Motoyama, Kyoto 603-804, Japan


In the OECD report (2015), open science was defined as “efforts to make the output of publicly funded research more widely accessible in digital format to the scientific community, the business sector, or society more generally.” This definition was provided after the first mention of open scientific research data in the 2013 G8 Science Ministers Statement. In Japan, the national policy was set along this baseline (e.g., Cabinet Office of Japan 2015), and it was followed by funding agencies, universities, and research institutions. Open research data are expected to accelerate collaborative open innovation and also guarantee transparency of research activities to help prevent data fabrication or plagiarism (Kitamoto 2017).

In contrast to this top-down approach, there is another school of open science, which weighs on participatory citizen science. For instance, Kyōto Daigaku Kojishin Kenkyūkai (2017) invites non-experts to participate in the transcription of historical seismic records in Japan through a web-based platform, and has transcribed more than 2.3 million letters during the first six months. Such a participatory bottom-up approach is sometimes associated with crowd funding, exemplified by the Sanmannenmae-no Kōkai Tettei Saigen Project (2017) to gather donations from a number of small donors.

Between these top-down and bottom-up approaches, the application of open science has good potential in issue-driven research, such as research in the fields of environmental sustainability science and health science. To provide a good solution to socio-environmental issues, a transdisciplinary approach is needed in which researchers (or experts) collaborate with those from different fields and also societal actors (or stakeholders) through the process of co-designing the research agenda, co-production of knowledge, and co-dissemination of results, based on equal dialogue and deliberation to enhance mutual learning (Lang et al., 2012; Mauser et al. 2013). It is noted that pro bono individuals, or skilled volunteers such as ICT engineers and social entrepreneurs, have been actively involved in solution-oriented projects through civic-tech style workshops, in which they use open data to create a solution. It is also noted that bridging agents who assist to bridge gaps in problem understanding between different actors are always present in transdisciplinary projects. It is therefore anticipated that bridging agents plays an important role in transdisciplinary open science. However, the roles and functions of bridging agents in open science still remains to be clarified.

With an awareness of this situation, a multi-stakeholder workshop was held in Kyoto in January 2017. The workshop aimed at overviewing the current issues of open science from the multifaceted viewpoints of 37 participants, representing natural and social scientists, governmental officials, local municipality officials, industry managers and employees, pro bono individuals, and librarians, through an unconference-style dialogue, during which the topics for group talk were decided by participants ad hoc. One of the group talks revealed the necessity of conventionalizing open science in each domain of research. Another group talk shed light on two functions of citizen science: the co-development of data infrastructure and the actions for social transformation. Another group pointed out the importance of capacity building of bridging agents who facilitate the bidirectional interaction of knowledge systems between researcher communities and other societal actors. This paper recommends the actions required to promote open science in light of participatory and transdisciplinary aspects, by reviewing the results of the workshop.


This research was financially supported by the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (Core Project Feasibility Study 14200075) and National Institute of Informatics (FY2016 Collaborative Meeting 9). I thank Ui Ikeuchi, Asanobu Kitamoto, Miki Kuribayashi, Kazuhiro Hayashi, Yasuhiro Murayama, Sachiko Yano, and all participants of the workshop for their inspiring inputs. The earlier version of this paper was presented at the JpGU-AGU Joint Meeting in May 2017 (Kondo et al. 2017).


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