FOSTER (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research) is a 2-year, EU-Funded (FP7) project, carried out by 13 partners across 8 countries. The primary aim is to produce a European-wide training programme that will help researchers, postgraduate students, librarians and other stakeholders to incorporate Open Access approaches into their existing research methodologies.
In recent years we have witnessed significant debate and activity surrounding the movement to make research papers, data, and scientific information freely available to all readers online. Open Access policies have been championed across the European Research Area, and feature prominently in the recommendations of Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s research and innovation programme: the EC views the principles of accessible knowledge and shared data as key components in their efforts to maximize the impact of publicly-funded research, and to promote innovation and economic growth. Open Access, both as a policy-driven initiative and as a general practice in research, has thus become more widely accepted as a desirable goal, and we expect that it will become even more important to forging an interconnected information exchange across Europe in the near future.
However, there is still a need to fill a number of skills gaps for researchers, project managers, librarians and other relevant stakeholders, in order to ensure that research results are managed, shared, and preserved effectively. Many researchers or other staff working at research institutions, however sympathetic they might be to the principles of OA, are not confident of the practical steps they may need to take to comply with the EC’s recommendations, to deposit articles in a repository, or to train other members of their institutions to do the same. FOSTER is a project designed to equip young researchers, established scholars, librarians, library managers, and other stakeholders, with the skills to function effectively as the range of open access policies are refined and aligned across the EU.
FOSTER is preparing online teaching materials and face-to-face training packages to help researchers comply with Open Access policies in line with the recommendations and expectations of the Horizon 2020 framework. FOSTER will enable its stakeholders to contribute to the growing holdings of freely-accessible research papers in Europe, to share and preserve their data productively, and will prepare them to engage with and develop new knowledge communities in the digital age.
- Support different stakeholders, especially young researchers, in adopting open access in the context of the European Research Area (ERA) and in complying with the open access policies and rules of participation set out for Horizon 2020;
- Integrate open access principles and practice in the current research workflow by targeting the young researcher training environment;
- Strengthen the institutional training capacity to foster compliance with the open access policies of the ERA and Horizon 2020 (beyond the FOSTER project);
- Facilitate the adoption, reinforcement and implementation of open access policies from other European funders, in line with the EC’s recommendation, in partnership with PASTEUR4OA project.
The objectives will be pursued through the combination of 3 main activities:
- Identifying already existing contents that can be reused in the context of the training activities and repackaging, reformatting them to be used within FOSTER, and develop/create/ enhance contents if/where they are needed;
- Creation of the FOSTER Portal to support e-learning, blended learning, self-learning, dissemination of training materials/contents and Helpdesk;
- Delivery of face-to-face training, especially training trainers/multipliers that can carry on further training and dissemination activities, within their institutions, countries or disciplinary communities.