Starting the Process
Resources pertaining to
Guidelines for Action
Guidelines for Action
Organisational studies put the identification of the mission and vision as the first step to take in a strategic management approach, to be used as the guiding idea for scanning the environment and for identifying the strategies to devise.
The vision refers to the reasons why an organization exists and the “ideal” state it wishes to achieve in the future. In other words, the vision focuses on tomorrow.
The mission focuses on today and identifies the goals and performance objectives that the organization wishes to pursue through its daily work. The mission is also important to establish the specific competence distinguishing the organization from the others. Both vision and mission provide the context for the development of strategies of action and criteria against which these strategies should be evaluated.
Some examples of vision and mission statements in the business and non-for-profit sectors are mentioned below.
- Microsoft (computer software, hardware, and services):
- Vision: “A computer on every desk and in every home using great software as an empowering tool”
- Mission: “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”.
- US Alzheimer Association (Non-for-profit volunteer health organization):
- Vision: “A world without Alzheimer’s disease”
- Mission: “To eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health”.
- Amazon (electronic commerce and cloud computing company):
- Vision: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online”
- Mission: “We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience”.
- Nissan (car maker):
- Vision: “Enriching People’s Lives”
- Mission: “Nissan provides unique and innovative automotive products and services that deliver superior measurable values to all stakeholders (customers, shareholders, employees, dealers and suppliers, as well as the communities where we work and operate) in alliance with Renault”.
- Creative Commons (Non-for-profit organisation in support of creative works):
- Vision: “Realizing the full potential of the internet – universal access to research and education, full participation in culture – to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity”
- Mission: “Developing, supporting, and stewarding legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation”.
- IKEA (Designing and selling ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home products):
- Vision: “To create a better everyday life for the many people”
- Mission: “Offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them”.
- Lerner, A.L., (1999). A strategic planning primer for higher education, California State University.
- Skrabanek, B. (2017). Difference Between Vision and Mission Statements: 25 Examples. ClearVoice.
- Sloane, P., Ten Top Tips for the Innovative Leader, InnovationManagement.se
Having a guiding idea in promoting RRI/OS-oriented actions could be particularly important for exhibiting a general approach which can be shared by others and for attracting the interest of the other actors and mobilising them for action. Examples of guiding ideas at the basis of RRI/OS-oriented actions drawn from the experiences included in the benchmarking exercise carried out in the FIT4RRI project are presented below.
Action: Framework for Responsible Innovation: introduction of RRI-related funding criteria
Organisation: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Guiding idea: Ensuring that our activities and the research we fund, are aligned with the principles of Responsible Innovation, creating value for society in an ethical and responsible way
Action: Responsible Innovation Programme (MVI)
Organisation: Dutch Research Council (NWO)
Guiding idea: Identifying the ethical and societal aspects of technological innovations at an early stage so that these can be taken into account in the design process
Action: Biotek 2021 RRI framework
Organisation: Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research
Guiding idea: Generating biotechnology that contributes to value creation and innovation in order to solve societal challenges in a responsible manner
Action: Promoting integrity as an integral dimension of excellence in research
Organisation: Radboud University
Guiding idea: Enhancing research integrity by promoting and fostering a research culture in which integrity is seen as an integral, substantial part of excellent research, not as an external and restrictive control system
Organisation: CAMBIA, an Australian independent non-profit institute promoting innovation
Guiding idea: Democratising innovation to create a more equitable and inclusive capability to solve problems using science and technology
Action: Reflexive System Biology – Towards an appreciation of biological, scientific and ethical complexity
Organisation: University of Bergen – Centre for the study of sciences and humanities
Guiding idea: Promoting in systems biology and synthetic biology the ethical and social aspects involved in prediction, control, design and fabrication of organisms
Organisation: Centre for societal learning and social responsibility at the University of Duisburg-Essen
Guiding idea: Promoting social responsibility and community involvement of students and teachers and integrating these issues into university teaching
- d'Andrea, L., Berliri, M., & Marta, F. (2018). Benchmarking Report, FIT4RRI Project (D1.2).
Some recurrent issues can be identified in establishing and building a team in charge of conducting RRI/OS-related institutional change processes. The following, among others, are worth mentioning here.
Accessing expertise. Ensuring the access of the team to the needed expertise is one of the main issue since the team cannot be asked to hold all the capacities and skills which are usually required for dealing with RRI and OS. It is to highlight that not necessarily skills and capacities available in the organisation are actually usable for promoting the institutional change process since those who hold them might not be interested to get involved with it.
Reputation building. Increasing the reputation and visibility of the teams is necessary to avoid the hindrances deriving from the low status of the members of the team implementing RRI/OS actions. In fact, often team are made up of young people and/or temporary employees who, for such reasons, are not recognised as authoritative, competent and capable enough to attract and activate other people. In a scientific environment, having senior researchers involved in RRI and OS is a key priority.
Organisational embedment. To avoid isolation and invisibility for the team and its actions, networking activities should be promoted to really embed the team in the organisation at various levels and involving different stakeholders. Ownership of RRI and OS is to be gradually extended, gaining visibility and becoming part of the organisation’s ordinary life, being considered one aspect of the mandate of its leaders and officers.
Securing staff and resources. To prevent the risk of discontinuity, it is necessary to promote the stable access of the team members to working conditions and resources adequate to their task. RRI/OS action should be based on the work of people, be they academic or managers, with diversified skills whose economic costs are recognized and adequately remunerated.
Internal cohesion. The internal cohesion of the team is obviously one of the most relevant aspects of developing a successful governance setting process. Cohesion primarily comes from the attitudes of team members to share aims and approaches and to prevent internal conflicts.
Tasks attribution. Some tensions among team members can also come from the attribution of tasks. Research roles are more attractive and useful for career development than project management roles, as far are researchers are concerned, so that it is important that a good balance is found.
Stress and overload. Stress and overload can be particularly suffered by team members, especially those who work mainly on a voluntary basis and whose involvement is less formally defined.
- Cacace, M., d'Andrea, L., & Declich, G. (2016). Accompanying research on implementation dynamics. STAGES Project (Structural change to achieve gender equality in science) project. Rome, ASDO.
- Declich, G., d’Andrea, L. (2017) Triggering Institutional Change towards Gender Equality in Science, Final Guidelines of the TRIGGER project. Rome, ASDO.
Despite their pilot character, all the experiments conducted in the framework of FIT4RRI had to cope with a set of obstacles and constraints of different nature.
The experiment implemented at ISQ, aimed at embedding RRI and OS in the R&D units of the organisation, had initially faced constraints like
- the presence of some resistance in the HR department
- the lack of commitment from higher managers
- the tendency not to share contacts with external stakeholders among the staff members
- serious difficulties in convening people to events which not in their agenda
- organisational constraints in managing the time schedule of participants (resulting in postponements and delays) since RRI and OS were not considered a priority in the day-to-day activity
- a certain discredit from people working for long at the company - due to some initiatives in the past that led to no major change
- the presence of bureaucratic constraints making difficult the introduction of institutional change and even the implementation of the experiment.
The experiment undertaken at the University of Liverpool (focused on the ethical and science educational implications of a monitoring system detecting unusual patterns of behaviour of vulnerable people in a given space) met problems in getting the ethical approval of the experiment (entailing delays in activating the process) and especially in getting the beneficiaries of the product to take part in most aspects of the project, due to them not having time to spare out of their day to day to attend the focus groups or workshops.
The experiment conducted at the Open University (aimed at promoting a new platform allowing text and data miners to machine access research literature effectively and at scale) prevalently met problems of organisational and technical nature. However, it also showed some important potential bottlenecks, related to, e.g., communication (it is important to have a regular and clear communication to prevent stakeholders disengagement), knowledge (researchers must have an excellent understanding of the stakeholders related to their research question) and engagement (there is the need to involve all the actors involved, from academia, industry, government and civil society).
The experiment implemented at Sapienza University of Rome, focused on the establishment of responsible governance in managing a new research centre, did not encounter many obstacles during its implementation. However, it allows identifying a set of barriers connected to the real institutionalisation of RRI and OS in the university governance. Among them, the following can be mentioned:
- Political barriers, due to the lack of national legislation to support RRI and OS
- Institutional barriers, deriving from the limited commitment of research institutions' managers towards RRI as well as the discontinuity of institutional mechanisms and structures that allow the incorporation of RRI into the organization
- Social barriers, generated by the potential limited interest and lack of awareness of the stakeholders (local authorities, companies, civil society organizations, citizens) towards RRI and OS as well as their lack of competences to understand scientific issues.
Proactive and motivated involvement of senior managers is of pivotal importance for triggering cultural transformations within a research organisation. There are different reasons to keep in mind making necessary an involvement of leaders in the institutional change process. Some of them are listed below.
Changing the organisational culture. Promoting RRI/OS could imply attacking profoundly rooted cultural resistances and promoting an overall change of the organisation’s culture. This can be successfully achieved only with the strong commitment of senior management.
Producing a symbolic impact. Proactive involvement of leaders has a symbolic effect, which greatly facilitates the mobilisation of the other leaders and staff at all levels.
Making decisions. Only strong support by leaders makes it possible to develop successful initiatives aimed at embedding RRI/OS in the organisation, to mobilise appropriate resources and to prevent or settle possible conflicts.
Promoting internal dialogue. Leaders' involvement has an essential role in favouring an internal dialogue on RRI/OS. This is particularly true at an informal level since transferring interest and passion towards a responsible and open science is more effective when it occurs through face-to-face informal relations between leaders and staff.
Favouring learning processes. It is up to the leaders to manage the outputs of the initiatives carried out, so to turn them into decisions, measures, or new research inputs. Their involvement at the forefront of RRI and OS is necessary since they have to lead the institutional learning processes deriving from the implementation of RRI and OS.
Connecting RRI/OS with the mission of the organisation. Leaders’ involvement is necessary from the beginning in order to prevent RRI and OS from becoming a marginal issue within the institutional agenda.
Playing as champions. Leaders may play the role of champions of RRI and OS in order to foster them throughout all researcher levels. The personal involvement of the leaders as testimonials for RRI and OS in public occasions turns out to be a good way to ensure a continuity in political backing.
Besides the reasons why leaders should be involved, there are some critical factors pertaining to their involvement which deserve to be considered. Some of them are presented below.
Leadership turnover. Turnover of leaders represents one of the main events which could endanger the involvement of the leadership. Sometimes the efforts made to involve leaders may be frustrated because of a change in leadership positions. It is to highlight, however, that, in other cases, the turnover results in an unexpected increase in leadership involvement when the former leaders’ involvement was low or occasional.
Shortage of funds. A decrease in the available funds sometimes drives the leaders of the organization to cut the costs. In such cases, costs related to the implementation of RRI and OS may be considered as unnecessary or no longer sustainable.
Changes in the overall priorities of the organization. A marginalization of RRI and OS in the agenda can ever occur in case – for whatever reason – the leaders of the organization decides to modify its priority schemes.
Structural reforms. Structural reforms of research organisations are quite recurrent events. Usually they entails a slowing down and even stops of the ongoing processes of change inside the organisation, including those related to aspects like gender equality, public engagement, or open science. Moreover, structural reforms may endanger the results already gained and are usually combined with changes in many leadership positions (with the consequences already highlighted above).
Changes in national regulations. Changes in national regulations may alternatively hinder or accelerate institutional changes. In any case, they usually represent a factor producing turbulence and uncertainty inside the organisation.
Conflicts. Other barriers to leaders’ involvement are the presence of conflicts and tensions, for example between the team and some managers, between organisational units or between leaders. Conflicts and tensions inevitably may produce serious problems for any action aimed at RRI and OS.
- Beacons for Public Engagement, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, (2014). How to support Public Engagement. Supporting leadership for public engagement, NCCPP
- Cacace, M., d'Andrea, L., & Declich, G. (2016). Accompanying research on implementation dynamics. STAGES Project (Structural change to achieve gender equality in science) project. Rome, ASDO.
- Declich, G., d’Andrea, L. (2017) Triggering Institutional Change towards Gender Equality in Science, Final Guidelines of the TRIGGER project. Rome, ASDO.
- PRAGES Project (2013). Guidelines for Gender Equality Programmes in Science, Rome
- Research Councils UK (2010). Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research, RCUK
The factors which come into play in the activation of the governance setting can largely vary according to the model of governance setting which has been chosen.
Although it is difficult to consider all the meaningful aspects, some orientation can be given of a general nature about the two variables which have been considered in building up the typology, i.e.:
- The triggering agent (internally the organization, externally to it or in a network of institutions the organization is part of)
- The focus, i.e., the factors in the life of an organisation which the governance setting primarily addresses and leverages upon to trigger the change process (social patterns, norms and the way in which scientific knowledge is produced).
Some considerations about the factors which are most influential in activating the governance setting process according to the model adopted are proposed below.
- Resources. The resources allocated by the organisation to start the process should be adequate and secure for all the period necessary for activating the governance setting process. Often the process is started thanks to specific additional resources (typically those provided under national or EC funding programmes).
- The institutional collocation of the team. The team in charge of the process should have a clear position in the organisational structure so as to enjoy the necessary authority and recognition.
- Awareness raising. The activation of the governance setting should be supported through awareness raising initiatives to create interest and an enabling environment for the future development of the process.
- Existing internal initiatives. An internally-initiated approach is based more than other models on harnessing the RRI/OS activities already in place within the organisation. Supporting and coordinating these activities from the beginning by also involving the concerned actors could be an important factor to start the governance setting process.
- Explicit pathway. For an internally-initiated governance setting model, defining an explicit pathway towards institutional change (for example, an action plan), clarifying how and why the different actors will be involved, could be extremely helpful.
- Selection of the external expert entity. In case the externally-initiated model is based on the hiring or the involvement of an external entity (for example, a consultancy firm), a pivotal role is played by how the selection process is accurate. In this framework, not only the approach and past experience of the candidates but also the motivation they have in providing their services should be taken into account.
- Application to RRI/OS-sensitive funding schemes. In other cases, the model is based on the application to RR/OS-sensitive funding schemes, i.e., schemes establishing requirements related to RRI or OS. In this case, it is extremely important understanding how to turn a contingent event (an application for research funds) into an institutional change, i.e., an irreversible modification of the organisation. A specific strategy should be devised in this regard.
- Applying to a certification process. Another way to activate a governance setting model is that of undergoing the organisation or part of it to a certification process related to RRI/OS. A typical case can be that of the HRS4R (the Charter and Code on the management of human resources in research organisation established by Euroaxess) or Athena SWAN (an award focused on gender equality). They should be used as external constraints to activate internal changes all over the organisation.
- Trust-based relations. Externally-initiated governance models could require the development of strong cooperation and trust-based relations between the team and the concerned external entities. This issue is particularly important when an external expert entity is involved.
- Learning process. The participation of the organisation in a network aimed at dealing with RRI and OS should be primarily used for activating an internal learning process so as to acquire new competencies. However, this can be fulfilled only if this learning process is carefully designed and developed.
- Multiplying effects. Participating in a network usually concerns only a small portion of the organisation. Hence the needs for developing process and procedures for multiplying the effects of the cooperation with external entities across the organisation.
- Harnessing the opportunities offered by networks. Participation in a network could allow accessing expertise and resources which otherwise would be difficult to access. Many networks represent a community of practices (for example, on gender equality, ethical issues or forecasting) which allow keeping the organisation updated about, e.g., methods, funding opportunities, policies and measures, etc. These opportunities should be fully harnessed in order to get the most from the networks.
- Communication strategies. In the context of the social model, communication is of critical importance. Its aim should be not to simply inform about the actions carried out but to favour a cultural change and mutual learning processes about the way in which researchers and staff think of their work. Communication strategies should be shaped taking in mind this aim.
- Participatory and engagement mechanisms. The social models of governance setting are, more than the others, focused on participation and engagement of staff, leaders and researchers. This implies the development of specific mechanisms (techniques and tools) which concern not only how to allow people to participate and to get engaged, but also how to recognise and implement the results emerging from participation and engagement, even when they are different from those expected by the team or leaders. The social model requires a sharing of decisions and power which not always the team and leaders are ready to accept.
- Support to the engaged actors. Supporting the already engaged actors and individuals from the beginning of the process is probably one of the most effective strategies to be devised. However, the results cannot be taken for granted since engaging people already active could also arise negative reactions leading to conflicts.
- Assessment and monitoring mechanisms. Changes in behavioural patterns and cultural approaches are quite difficult to be assessed because of their prevalently intangible nature. However, they may play a central role in paving the way to institutional change processes. Specific qualitative assessment and monitoring systems should be developed just to record this kind of dynamics.
- Wide approach to norms. Changing norms does not mean only changing the formal rules regulating the life of the organisation. There are many normative instruments – usually referred to as “soft regulation” – such as guidelines, recommendations, or codes of practice, which, although explicit, are not-biding in nature. We could also consider as normative in nature the establishment of new structures such as units, committees or officers, or even the establishment of new principles the staff is aware of. This approach to norms obviously imply the use of consensus-building mechanisms inside the organisation.
- Leadership’s cohesion. A normative model of governance setting, more than other models, is based on the capacity of the organisation leaders to activate and shape the process of institutional change, by leveraging on the current decision-making procedures. This requires a level of cohesion among leaders about the choice to be done which cannot be taken for granted.
- Policy embedment. Acting on norms means also ensuring consistency between new and existing norms and measures. Preserving or even increasing such consistency should be considered from the beginning as an objective to be fulfilled.
- Management backing. Applying the new norms cannot be done if the top and middle management are not supportive enough. Getting their active support is, therefore, an unavoidable step, especially in the case a normative model to governance setting is implemented.
- Inter-epistemic dialogue. Changing the way of making research in the great majority of cases entails opening-up the research process to scientists from other disciplines or to actors bearing other points of view and type of knowledge (for example, experiential knowledge, entrepreneurial knowledge, policy knowledge, etc.). In approaching the knowledge-oriented model, some forms of inter-epistemic dialogue should be then planned from the beginning.
- Investments. Adopting an approach to RRI and OS primarily based on changing the way in which scientific knowledge is produced makes it often necessary specific investments in technology and physical structures (for example, creating an interactive platform, creating an equipped living lab, etc.).
- Learning process. Another issue is how turning specific research experiences adopting RRI and OS procedures into a learning process involving the research organisation as a whole, thus overcoming disciplinary and internal organisational barriers.
- Addressing resistances. Resistance to change is surely something which characterises any institutional change process, whatever the approach will be. However, resistance is expected to be stronger when procedures pertaining to the production of scientific knowledge are concerned. To address them, widespread consensus building and exchange processes should be activated.
- d'Andrea, L., Berliri, M., & Marta, F. (2018). Benchmarking Report, FIT4RRI Project (D1.2).
Different models have been elaborated to explain how institutional change process develops or should be actually promoted when RRI/OS-related issues are concerned.
According to the expert of the FOTRRIS Project, institutional change towards RRI implies to change:
- R&I agendas (from economic competitiveness to the main focus on ecological sustainability and social inclusion)
- The R&I governance model (for more reflexivity, transparency and bringing in different perspectives and knowledge)
- R&I system’s organisation and actors (to change the interactions between R&I and society, and be inclusive)
- Monetary flows (funds, investments) within the R&I system (to fund and invest in solutions that are not only economically profitable but the ablest to solve the challenges)
- The process of doing R&I (to adopt a complex systems perspective, co-create knowledge and collectively act)
- The usages of R&I (to broaden the liberal economic paradigm that relies on producing and selling goods towards more resilient ways to provide for the needs of society)
- The evaluation system of R&I (to encourage to and reward R&I actors for solving the challenges).
The process of change includes the following steps:
- The destabilisation of the regime (i.e., the institutionalised organisations, interactions, rules, beliefs, routines, visions that stabilise the system and shape the activities of the system’s actors)
- Experimentation of RRI-based alternatives, to be then implemented at the side of the regime or in replacement of the regime’s ways of thinking, doing and organising
- Phasing-out the non-RRI-based elements of the system
- Institutionalising RRI-based alternatives.
- FOTRRIS (2018). Score. How to Set-up a Competence Cell.
In the framework of the Res-AGorA Project, Sally Randles, Sally Gee and Jakob Edler, identify thirteen lessons on «the effectiveness of a range of governance instruments and institutionalization processes to achieve the embedding of Responsible Research and Innovation».
- Responsibilisation and deep institutionalisation. Activating a process of actor responsibilisation to internalise social values and apply these values in regulatory practices, inducing profound organisational and cultural changes favouring the embedment of these values into taken-for-given practices, routines and institutions.
- Transformative interaction needs to be inclusive, open and transparent. For interaction among actors to be transformative, adopting a set of approaches to make it inclusive (i.e., able to include the diversity of actors involved), open and transparent; this entails, for example, preparatory work, adequate process management, tools for encouraging the mobilisation of marginalised groups or capacity building processes.
- Intermediation and moderation. Developing intermediation and moderation, given that direct interactions are not always reasonable or feasible, because of a clash in interests and values, for example, or contrasting perceptions and framings, or limited willingness or ability to communicate. Intermediators must be credible and their functions and interests transparent.
- Anticipation. Relying upon a set of anticipatory techniques and methods making, to identify future scenarios, technologies and challenges.
- Robust, inclusive and contextualised knowledge. Underpinning the RRI governance process on robust and trusted knowledge, especially in consideration of uncertainties characterising the present and future development of R&I practices and products.
- The importance of time, timing and managing tensions of different temporal horizons. Taking into account the different dimensions of time (time horizons, timing of governance action, time needed to induce institution change, etc.) but also balancing the imperative for R&I to move fast (to promote use in economic and social terms) with that to move slowly (to promote deeper normative and behavioural changes).
- Multi-level governance. Taking account of multiple levels of governance, including political levels (city, nation, EU, etc.) and hierarchical levels within the organisation. Multi-level governance also concerns the need to manage, balance and seek synergies between top-down and bottom-up processes.
- Alignment. Aligning and synchronising normative goals, objectives and procedures of different instruments and measures, across levels and through effective coordination mechanisms.
- Boundary objects. Recognising the intermediary role played by boundary objects, i.e., objects of any nature (data, specimens, materials, etc.) which, by virtue of their interpretive flexibility, can link different groups of researchers and stakeholders.
- Institutional change. Activating long-term changes in institutions at any level (regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive), modifying rules, routines and organisational forms, being aware that institutional changes involve parallel processes to de-institutionalise the existing patterns, which usually triggers resistance, reactions and tensions.
- Capabilities. Activating capability-building processes across the R&I spectrum encouraging and enabling the formation of reflexive actors that can participate fully in RRI processes.
- Capacities. Guaranteeing resources (financial, organisational, and social and human capital) and adequate means (new institutions, new incentives structures, etc.) to create the conditions for responsibilisation processes.
- Institutional leadership and entrepreneurship. Enabling of key actors, groups, organisations and wider society to create spaces, resources, and support for values-driven institutional entrepreneurialism in RRI, at the level of key actors and champions, at the middle-management level in organisations, and at the level of organisational culture.
- Randles, S., Gee, S., & Edler, J. (2015). Governance and Institutionalisation of Responsible Research and Innovation in Europe: Transversal lessons from an extensive programme of case studies: Stakeholder Report. ResAGorA Project (D3.6).
C. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine defined a set of phases and some accelerating factors which can lead to what is referred to as “Open Science by Design”, i.e., a set of principles and practices that fosters openness throughout the entire research life cycle.
From the very beginning of the research process, the researcher both contributes to open science and takes advantage of the open science practices of other members of the research community.
In this framework, researchers should be supported to learn how to manage the research process in a new Open Science perspective, experiencing the following phases:
- Provocation - explore or mine open research resources and use open tools to network with colleagues
- Ideation - develop and revise research plans and prepare to share research results and tools under FAIR (Findable-Accessible-Interoperable-Reusable) principles
- Knowledge generation - collect data, conduct research using tools compatible with open sharing, and use automated workflow tools to ensure accessibility of research outputs.
- Validation - prepare data and tools for reproducibility and reuse and participate in replication studies
- Dissemination - use appropriate licenses for sharing research outputs and report all results and supporting information (data, code, articles, etc.)
- Preservation - deposit research outputs in FAIR archives and ensure long-term access to research results.
To favour such a process, some accelerating factors and relative recommendations are identified
Building a supportive culture
- Research institutions should work to create a culture that actively supports Open Science by Design by better rewarding and supporting researchers engaged in open science practices. Research funders should provide explicit and consistent support for practices and approaches that facilitate this shift in culture and incentives
- Research institutions and professional societies should train students and other researchers to implement open science practices effectively and should support the development of educational programs that foster Open Science by Design
Ensuring Long-Term Preservation and Stewardship
- Research funders and research institutions should develop the policies and procedures to identify the data, code, specimens, and other research products that should be preserved for long-term public availability, and they should provide the resources necessary for the long-term preservation and stewardship of those research products
Facilitating Data Discovery, Reuse, and Reproducibility
- The research community should work together to realize Open Science by Design to advance science and help science better serve the needs of society
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018). Open science by design: Realizing a vision for 21st century research. National Academies Press.
The UK-based organisation MATTER developed 8 principles for embedding RRI in an organisation (in this case, the focus is on business organisations).
Principle One – Innovation for social benefit. The organisation designs its innovations to deliver social, ethical and environmental benefits, in addition to commercial goals.
Principle Two – Board leadership. The Board takes a leadership role in championing Responsible Innovation and is accountable for developing and managing its innovation strategy and associated responsibilities.
Principle Three – Consideration of social, ethical and environmental impacts. The organisation considers and is responsive to the wider social, ethical and environmental implications and impacts of its innovations, working alone or with others where appropriate.
Principle Four – Excellent public health, safety and environmental risk management. The organisation carries out thorough, technology specific, risk assessment and minimises any potential public health, safety or environmental risks relating to its products. It also considers the public health, safety and environmental risks throughout the product lifecycle.
Principle Five – Excellent worker health and safety. The organisation ensures high standards of technology-specific occupational health & safety. It also considers occupational health and safety issues for workers at other stages in the product lifecycle.
Principle Six – Involving commercial partners. The organisation engages proactively, openly and co-operatively with business partners up and down the supply chain to provide appropriate information and safety data throughout the supply chain.
Principle Seven – Stakeholder involvement. The organisation identifies its innovation stakeholders, including the general public, proactively engages with them, involving them in the innovation process and is responsive to their views and concerns.
Principle Eight – ‘Radical Transparency’ and disclosure. The organisation is innovative and daring in its approach to transparency and openness. In particular, it is open about its involvement with and management of specific technologies or areas of innovation.
- MATTER (2015). Principles for Responsible Innovation. Building trust and trustworthiness in business innovation. Consultation draft, July
Under the STAGES project, focused on gender equality in science, a model of institutional change has been developed including four main components:
- The creation of a transformational agent
- The activation of agency dynamics, with the arousal of supportive or conflicting/resisting attitudes and behaviours towards the project
- The interaction of agency dynamics and structural circumstances
- The resulting outcomes in terms of structural change.
The creation of the transformational agent refers to the establishment of the team as an actual new player within the organisation, able to enlarge and encompass increasingly wide circles of internal and external stakeholders, mobilising them on the project's objectives, also through the integration of the other groups’ (compatible) objectives into the institutional change dynamics.
The activation of change-oriented agency dynamics refers to the mobilisation of other “agencies” (groups, organisational units, beneficiaries, etc.) directly or indirectly concerned, so to gain their active and concrete support and contribution to the objectives and actions of the structural change programme. Ideally, the diffusion of transformational attitudes among different groups of players at the institutes should make it easier to pursue change objectives through ever diminishing efforts on behalf of the teams.
The interaction between agency dynamics and structural circumstances refers to the capacity of actually modifying the structural features of the organisation which may, according to the specific action concerned, facilitate or hinder the work of the transformational group/s by producing a “friction” on such structures, also in terms of resistance and negotiation processes.
The structural outcomes and impacts refer to the different kinds of results emerging from the actions carried out, which can be both tangible (new rules, structures, norms, initiatives, etc.) and intangible (change in awareness levels, attitude, languages, cultural frames, etc.).
The following scheme represents but a rough attempt to dynamically summarise the elements described above. An itinerary is thus sketched, even if somewhat simplified, starting from a group (1) endowed with the task of concretely applying a policy instrument such as the structural change one in their institution, through the progressive mobilisation of varied supporting agencies (2), the friction with structural obstacles of various kind (3) and the activation of the change process in different relevant change dimensions and strategic areas (4). Social innovation (6) finally requires the diffusion of transformational attitudes (5), within and outside the promoting organisation, even if various rounds of the spiral will probably be necessary.
- Cacace, M., d'Andrea, L., & Declich, G. (2016). Accompanying research on implementation dynamics. STAGES Project (Structural change to achieve gender equality in science) project. Rome, ASDO.
Institutional changes can be usefully seen as a process of negotiations occurring at a different level and involving various actors about how to manage the changes occurring in science.
Many definitions have been given to the concept of negotiation. In general terms, it could be defined as the result of communicative interactions through which the members of social organisations come to define social meanings and, as a consequence, the distribution of power and responsibilities, continuously reshaping the organisations themselves. This entails a progressive institutionalisation of the new social constructs and realities (new procedures, values, beliefs, norms, etc.), which at the end become so legitimised that the very memory of their having been the object of negotiation is lost.
In this case, the new social constructs and realities to be institutionalised are inspired to RRI and OS principles and practices and ultimately concern all the aspects of science (the organization of the research process, the contents and methods related to the production of scientific knowledge, the values guiding the choices to be done in making research, the way in which decision is made in research organizations, the relations among research actors, etc.).Different dimensions of the negotiation process can be usefully distinguished in implementing the governance setting and, afterwards, larger programmes aiming to institutional change. Conventionally, four dimensions can be identified:
- The interpretive dimension
- The symbolic dimension
- The institutional dimension
- The operational dimension.
The interpretive dimension concerns, in this case, the nature of the problems to be dealt with and how RRI and OS would help cope with them. Interpretive negotiation aims at building a common understanding of the problems, including a raising-awareness process about, e.g., the risks to cope with, the appropriateness of the procedures, structures, values, and internal relations already in place, the opportunities to be seized for changing the situation, etc., thus creating the necessary preconditions for action. Interpretive negotiations are particularly involved with actions like, e.g., collection of data and reliable information on the changes affecting science, initiatives and best practices inspired to RRI and OS, training activities aiming to modify the ways in which research works or public debates on RRI and OS.
The symbolic dimension concerns visibility and attractiveness of RRI and OS and of their core message, i.e., making science a social institution more responsible and open to society than it was in the past. This dimension is involved with the symbolic aspects of actions like communication on RRI and OS-related issues, rewards and recognition of the actions, awareness-raising activities on RRI and OS, or exhibits dealing with the problems of science. The symbolic dimension is particularly concerned with sentiments, emotions, and passions.
Institutional negotiation. Institutional negotiation has the objective of modifying the “rules of the game”, increasing the weight of RRI/OS tools and approaches in all relevant aspects of the organisation. This dimension is particularly involved with actions such as establishing new funds and scholarships, changing rules, regulations and procedures, creating new structures, departments, offices or networks, allocating resources for PE, creating training schemes, modifying curricula, or establishing partnerships agreement.
Operational negotiations. This dimension concerns the actual implementation of decisions already made and therefore the actual possibility to have things done effectively and in a reasonable time. This implies the power of translating goodwill and declarations into reality, activating monitoring and assessment mechanisms, providing for problem-solving, or speaking out when commitments are not respected.
These dimensions are often intertwined so that a single activity or a stream of action may serve more than one dimension. It is actually important understanding of how to use and combine these different dimensions of negotiation in the context of a concrete governance setting process.
- ASDO (2013). Feasibility Study on the sustainability of the STAGES Action Plans, STAGES Project D6.2.
In order to exemplify how the different dimensions of negotiation can come into play in the implementation of RRI and OS, some examples of negotiations are provided drawn out of real cases. These examples are not intended to show what a “good negotiation” should be but to better clarify the different types of negotiation presented, i.e., interpretive, symbolic, institutional, and operational negotiations.
Midstream modulation is an approach towards RRI involving the incorporation of ethical and societal considerations in the various phases of the research process and in laboratory practices via the involvement of social scientists and ethics experts in research teams. The Midstream modulation was first tested and implemented by the University of Texas and then used in laboratories in various countries. In this case, the focus is on the interpretive negotiation (researchers are encouraged to see their research work from a standpoint which is unusual to them). Also, the symbolic dimension is involved, since the inclusion of social researchers and humanists in the laboratory work changes the way in which the latter is perceived. This approach has not been institutionalised and therefore neither institutional nor operational negotiations actually occurred.
Handbook for a fair recruitment process
A handbook to help foster an inclusive, transparent and gender unbiased recruitment process was developed at CeMM, a Wien-based research institution specialized in molecular medicine. The development process included several steps: i) a seminar was held involving both HR officers and international experts; ii) the results of the seminar were used to produce a draft version of the handbook; iii) the draft version was reviewed by the same experts participating in the seminar; iv) the team in charge of handbook development conducted an analysis of the actions included in the handbook, selecting those which could be considered most relevant and urgent for their institution; v) the proposed actions were discussed and improved upon with the Head of Human Resources, in charge of managing recruitment applications; vi) the actions were then submitted to both the scientific director and the administrative director; vii) having obtained the support of the directors, the handbook was included in the agenda of a Faculty meeting and discussed by the research group leaders; viii) finally, most of the actions proposed were approved and the application process started. The process surely includes an initial interpretive negotiation (up to step iii), followed by an institutional negotiation (from step v) also mixed, in the last steps, with forms of operational negotiations.
Multiple focal points for RRI
The Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) has long been engaged in promoting and implementing RRI-oriented actions and strategies, adopting an approach based on the creation of multiple focal points within the organisation dealing each one a specific aspect of RRI, including: the establishment of an Observatory for Equality; the creation of an Ethics Committee; the development of different initiatives aimed at public engagement and education (including the creation of an Institute for Science Education and an observatory for the spread of science); the creation of the Intellectual Property and Open Access website for open-access publication (Open Access Institutional Repository). Recently, UAB has been engaged in connecting these focal points, not by creating a coordinating unit, but establishing a common policy and communication framework allowing to make the overall action made on RRI visible both internally and externally and to better integrate RRI policies in the UAB mission and basic policies. The actions conducted at UAB included many institutional and operational negotiations, for example in the establishment of the Ethics Committee, the creation of the Institution for Science Education of the creation of the Intellectual Property and Open Access website. The Observatory for Equality is a tool fostering an interpretative negotiation about the condition of women and other groups in the university since it conducts the evaluation, monitoring and assessment studies on the degree of compliance with the principles and policies related to equality and diversity. The establishment of a common communication framework for all the RRI-oriented activities is a typical form of symbolic negotiation, aimed at reciprocally connecting the different actions and at connecting UAB to RRI.
Certification through partnership
EuroPriSe (European Privacy Seal) is a privacy certification system for IT products, IT-based services and websites that are compliant with the EU data protection system. The certification system, established in 2008, is managed by the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Austrian Academy of Science. The origin of EuroPriSe is to be found in two EC-funded projects carried out by ITA and other partners, which led to the definition of a set of guidelines and criteria for data protection compliant and privacy enhancing security technologies. EuroPriSe is based on a certification process initiated by the manufacturers or vendors of IT products and IT-based services. The process consists of an evaluation of the product/service by qualified legal and IT experts and validation of the evaluation report by an independent certification authority. The certification may be obtained through the following steps: i) choose and contact a legal and a technical expert from the expert register compiled by EuroPriSe; ii) discuss evaluation with experts; iii) contact the certification authority and schedule a preparatory first meeting; iv) agree on evaluation with experts; v) apply for certification and conclude a Certification Agreement with the Certification Authority; vi) experts conduct evaluation; vii) Manufacturer/Service provider hands in Evaluation Report (confidential), compiled by a legal and technical expert and approved by the manufacturer, and short Public Report (public) compiled by a legal and technical expertise and approved by the manufacturer. In this case, the certification process, which is undoubtedly based on an institutional negotiation, includes an important (if not dominant) component of interpretive negotiation, based on the established of a sort of partnership between expert and applicant, aiming at interpreting the product or service in the light of the data protection system.
A charter for gender equality in science
Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise the commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEM employment in higher education and research. It was established by the Athena Project, promoted by a group of women academics, with the support of the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN). There are three levels of awards available for institutions and individual departments. Research institutions adhering to the Charter are encouraged to work through three levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold, according to the level of application of the criteria established in the Charter). Award-holders have to re-apply after a set period of time. These renewals also require evidence of progress and the successful completion of earlier action plans. The withdrawal of an award or the granting of an award at a level below the one applied for is also possible. The process includes a self-assessment phase and a peer-reviewing exercise by awards panels, usually made up of five people. Local networks have been created across UK, allowing representatives from the institutions that are signatory of the Athena SWAN Charter to have a recognised, geographically co-located peer group with whom they can collectively consider gender equality challenges and priorities and to access the staff members in charge of Athena SWAN to get advice on best practice and guidance on procedure. The process includes institutional negotiations (mainly referring to the application procedures), symbolic negotiations (the recognition of awards is in itself part of a symbolic negotiation inside and outside the organisation), interpretive negotiations (for example, the self-assessment phase, the peer-reviewing exercise, the participation in the local networks) and the operational negotiations (referring to the actual implementation of the actions included in the plan of actions established for getting the award).
- d'Andrea, L., Berliri, M., & Marta, F. (2018). Benchmarking Report, FIT4RRI Project (D1.2).
An institutional change, to a different extent, touches all the components of the organisation or of the part of it directly concerned (for example, a research group, a service, a department, etc.). But what do we speak about when we speak of “components” of the organisation?
Various models have been elaborated in order to identify the components of an organization.
For example, Hammer and Champy identifies four components of the organisation i.e.: business processes (method of the ways the organisation’s work is done); jobs (staff, tasks, etc.) and structure of the organization; management and measurement system (pertaining to how people are recruited, paid, and evaluated); organisational culture (shaping the employees’ values and beliefs).
Other models, like that of Gould, organize the components of an organisation in terms of input, process, and outputs, whereas inputs include resources, staff, suppliers, and external experts; the process includes the production processes and the processes connected to management controls; outputs include products and services as well as the users/clients.
Under FIT4RRI, a model of the organization has been developed for a better understanding of how RRI/OS-related institutional change processes develop.
According to this model, any collective actor can be analysed as made up of four main components, each one involved with an aspect of RRI:
Culture concerns any cognitive and cultural element providing the set of shared meanings necessary for the group to exist as a group. For example, the culture of a research unit may include its research mission and objectives, the disciplinary culture(s) of the members, the governance styles, the attitudes towards novelties, the symbols and rituals shared by all the members, and the like. From the RRI-implementation perspective, culture concerns the level of awareness the organisation and its members have about what is at stake with RRI/OS.
Agency concerns the people’s orientation to act and the energy (in any sense, from money or time to emotional energy) the people is interested in investing. For example, a research group may be interested in investing in a given kind of research, in cooperating with the private sector, in increasing its visibility in the university, in constantly enlarging the group, in getting engaged with science communication, or in other things. All in all, the concept of agency refers to the quantity and quality of energy the actor accumulates and is interested in investing and in what. Even though we are speaking of a collective actor, it is quite evident that a pivotal role is played by an individual’s interests, passions and mobilisation. From the RRI and OS implementation perspective, agency concerns the way in which they become relevant, i.e., something the organisation and its members recognise as useful for them in order to address the problems they are facing and worried about.
The action concerns what the organisation actually does, how it is to be done, and what effects are produced. While agency represents the cognitive side of the action, the latter represents the actualisation of the former, even though the overlaps between the two may also be limited because of the many contingencies and constraints of the real world. From the RRI-implementation perspective, the action component concerns the way in which RRI and become effective, i.e., actually useful for the development of the organisation.Identity concerns the way in which actors control their internal and external environment. Therefore, it includes any available resource and any action aimed at ensuring this control and, especially, those practices and social relations enabling the organisation to coordinate internally and externally. From the RRI and OS implementation perspective, identity concerns the way in which they become part of the daily practices of the organisation, thus becoming sustainable in the long run.
The four components can be viewed as part of a cycle, by virtue of which changes in culture (awareness) are expected to modify the agency of the people inside the organization (relevance) and, consequently, to produce changes in the actions performed (effectiveness), up to the modification of the internal and external configuration of the organisation (sustainability).
As a matter of fact, all these components play a pivotal role in these dynamics. In fact:
- An RRI/OS culture which does not mobilize people is unproductive since it leaves mobilised agents isolated within the organisation and without any support
- Agency mobilisation which does not turn into action is fruitless
- RRI/OS actions without agency mobilisation reflect a top-down and unrealistic approach
- RRI actions which do not result in permanent or long-term change in an organization, thus becoming part of the identity of the organization, are short-lived
- An identity which does not change the culture of the organisation is destined to fail.
- d’Andrea, L., & Marta, F. (2017). Report on the Literature Review, FIT4RRI Project D1.1.
- Gould, D. (1999). Virtual organization. Leading Virtual Teams (online), 2.
- Hammer, M., Champy, J. (1993). Re-engineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, Harper Business, New York, NY.
Different systems have been elaborated for assessing progress in Responsible Research and Innovation. Two examples are can be provided.
Probably the most influential system to assess RRI is that developed under the EC-funded MoRRI project. The system is based on a battery of indicators, organised according to the RRI keys.
The indicators included in the system are reported below.
|GE1||Share of research performing organisations with gender equality plans|
|GE2||Share of female researchers by sector (government, higher education, private non-profit, business enterprises)|
|GE3||Share of research performing organisations promoting gender content in research|
|GE4||Dissimilarity index (share of men and women for the distance of balanced gender distribution across fields)|
|GE5||Share of research performing organisations with policies to promote gender in research content|
|GE6||Glass ceiling index (share of women in grade A in relation to the share of women in academia)|
|GE7||Gender wage gap|
|GE8||Share of female heads of research performance organisations|
|GE9||Share of gender-balanced recruitment committees at research-performing organisation|
|GE10||Number and share of female inventors and authors||Science literacy and science education|
|SLSE1||Importance of societal aspects of science in science curricula for 15-18-year-olds|
|SLSE2||RRI-related training at research-performing organisations|
|SLSE3||Science communication culture (degree of institutionalization, political attention, traditions for science popularization and public interest related to science communication)|
|SLSE4||Citizen Science activities in research performing organisations||Public engagement|
|PE1||Models of public involvement in S&T decision making (formalised/non formalised, high/low involvement)|
|PE2||Policy-oriented engagement with science (on the part of citizens)|
|PE3||Citizen preferences for active participation in S&T decision making|
|PE4||Active information search about controversial technology (on the part of citizens)|
|PE5||Public engagement performance mechanisms at the level of research institutions|
|PE6||Dedicated resources for public engagement|
|PE7||Embedment of public engagement activities in the funding structure of key public research funding agencies|
|PE8||Public engagement elements as evaluative criteria in research proposal evaluations|
|PE9||R&I democratization index (mechanisms in place for involving stakeholders in decision-making process around research and innovation)|
|PE10||National infrastructure for involvement of citizens and societal actors in research and innovation (including, e.g., technology assessment institutions with citizen and stakeholder involvement, advisory boards and committees with citizen and stakeholder involvement)||Ethics|
|E1||Ethics at the level of universities (Number of universities with Research Ethics Committees)|
|E2||National Ethics Committees Index (NEC index)|
|E3||Research Funding Organisations Index (Research funding organizations integrating mechanisms for ethics assessment, monitoring, and review)||Open Access|
|OA1||Open Access Literature (number and share of publications that have some 'free' online accessibility)|
|OA2||Data publications and citations per country|
|OA3||Social media outreach/take up of Open Access Literature and open research data|
|OA4||Public perception of Open Access|
|OA5||Funder Mandates (if and how many funder mandates for open access publishing there are in the EU Member States)|
|OA6||Research performing organisations support structures for researchers as regards incentives and barriers for data sharing||Governance|
|GOV1||Composite indicator of RRI governance (based on ethics (GE1, GE3, GE9, PE1, PE2, PE3, PE7, PE8, PE9, PE10, OA4, OA5, OA6, E1, E2, E3)|
|GOV2||Existence of formal governance structures for RRI within research funding and performing organisations|
|GOV3||Share of research funding and performing organisations promoting RRI|
Another example refers to an assessment system more focused on research organisations, elaborated by Wickson and Carew.
RRI is evaluated according to 7 general categories, each of them including a set of quality criteria. Categories and criteria are reported below.
|RRI is socially relevant and solution oriented|
|A.||Type of problem addressed|
|B.||Type of solution sought|
|RRI is sustainability centred and Future scanning|
|A.||Anticipating potential futures|
|B.||Identifying potential risks and benefits|
|C.||Considering social, economic and environmental sustainability|
|RRI is diverse and deliberative|
|A.||Level of cross-disciplinarity involved|
|B.||Where stakeholders are involved|
|C.||How stakeholders are involved|
|RRI is reflexive and Responsive|
|A.||Recognition of preconditions in context and group|
|B.||Exploration of underlying values, assumptions and choices|
|C.||Openness to critical scrutiny|
|D.||Ability to change after internal reflective practice and external feedback|
|RRI is rigorous and Robust|
|A.||Aspects of the problem considered|
|B.||Repeatability across actors and settings|
|C.||Reliability of outcomes under real-world conditions|
|RRI is creative and elegant|
|A.||Novelty and daring|
|B.||Sufficiency and beauty|
|RRI is honest and accountable|
|A.||Identification of uncertainties and limitations|
|B.||Lines of delegation and ownership|
|C.||Compliance with research ethics and governance requirements|
|D.||Policies on open access and information sharing|
|E.||Ownership over positive and negative outcomes|
The elements listed under each criterion assisted the process of developing the quality criteria into an RRI performance rubric, allowing to define the situation of a given organisation in a specific development category, i.e., routine, good, great, and exemplary.
For example, for the first category (RRI is socially relevant and solution oriented), the development can be assessed through the following rubrics.
|RRI is socially relevant and solution oriented|
|Pursuing a purely personal interest. Possibility that process/ product will only result in the creation of de-contextualized knowledge or new problems||Focused on a marginal or self-defined problem. Employing processes aimed at generating insights toward a solution, or a partial solution||Addressing a significant social need. Ongoing analysis of objectives and pro-cesses to maintain a focus on delivering a successful solution||Addressing a grand social challenge. Ongoing analysis of objectives and process-es to favour the delivery of ‘wicked solutions’ (solving multiple challenges simultaneously)|
- Wickson, F., & Carew, A.L. (2014). Quality criteria and indicators for responsible research and innovation: Learning from transdisciplinarity. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 1(3), 254-273.
- Ravn, T., Nielsen, M.W., & Mejlgaard, N. (2015). Metrics and Indicators of Responsible Research and Innovation: Progress report, D3.2. Monitoring the Evolution and Benefits of Responsible Research and Innovation (MoRRI).
An Open Science monitoring system has been developed by the European Commission which, however, focuses on general trends related to Open Science in Europe.
An approach more adaptable to the needs of single research organisations has been developed by Prem, Sanz, Lindorfer, Lampert, and Irran. The core indicators developed by the authors refer to the following dimensions: Data gathering; Diffusion; Review; Reputation system; Skills; and Science & society.
|Data gathering||% of research funders that mandate the provision of the data/software code produced in the context of the funded activity AND who mandate the conformity to data (exchange) standards|
|Accessibility of open data/code as % of all data/code produced by publicly (co-) funded projects|
|% of machine-readable data / metadata|
|Availability of explanatory metadata as % of all available data (resulting from publicly (co-) funded research)|
|Quality of metadata (versioning, volume, data format, description of fields, etc.)|
|Usability of simulation results (models, data, and code)|
|(Types of) open data services offered|
|Is the (long-term) availability of the data guaranteed (availability of a sustainability plan (yes/no))|
|Diffusion||% of open standards in the research process (standards concerning e.g. the provision of data + metadata, modelling, sharing models, visualisations)|
|% of publications with free licencing (public domain, attribution, all kinds of sharing)|
|Review||% of peer reviews that include reproducibility and transparency as review criteria|
|Reputation system||Data communication recognised as a criterion for career progression (yes/no)|
|Skills||% of research personnel/research disciplines skilled in OS|
|% of research personnel active in OS|
|% of curricula that include OS skills (also prior to higher education)|
|% of research personnel aware of standards (is there a standard (relevant to open science), how to adhere to it, etc.)|
|% of research personnel familiar with those standards|
|# of researchers having signed an open science pledge|
|# of research organisations having signed an open science pledge|
|Science & society||Openness in call for proposals (open proposals, open submissions, open review)|
|Increase in % of citizens engaging in open science|
|Circulating and communicating research results outside the academia is standard (yes/no)|
|Provision of affordable sets of public interest data/metadata|
- European Commission (2018). Open Science Monitor. Updated Methodological Note.
- Prem, E., Sanz, F.S., Lindorfer, M., Lampert, D., & Irran, J. (2016). Open Digital Science. Technical report.
The involvement of stakeholders is a requirement for any RRI and OS-oriented action which, by their nature, cannot be developed through traditional mechanisms of institutional change, i.e., through purely command-and-control approaches.
However, the identification of the stakeholders, i.e., the actors having a real interest in the action or anyhow playing an essential role in its implementation, is a process that should not be overlooked since it requires choices that are not ever easy to take.
It is needless to say that the number and kinds of actors involved in RRI and OS-related action are extremely variable. Some good examples can be drawn from the experiments conducted in the framework of the FIT4RRI project.
The experiment undertaken at the University of Liverpool was aimed at collecting information about understandings and opinions of internal and external stakeholders in order to identify the ethical and science educational implications of a monitoring system detecting unusual patterns of behaviour of vulnerable people in a given space. Since the experiment also envisaged a change in the research approaches, many stakeholders internal to the University of Liverpool were involved, including project managers, researchers, PhD students, research support staff and ethics board members. As for the external stakeholders, being the project focused on vulnerable people at home, healthcare facilities, or protected environments, representatives of the concerned local authority units and of the National Health System were engaged. Potential users and beneficiaries of the new technology were also involved.
The experiment conducted at the Open University was aimed at promoting a new platform allowing text and data miners to machine access research literature their university subscribes to effectively and at scale. In such a case, the great majority of the stakeholders were external to the promoting institution, including experts in publisher systems who represented different publishing houses and systems, experts in text and data mining, members of organisations engaged in supporting the development of open access solutions and infrastructures and a non-for-profit innovation platforms.
As for the experiment conducted at ISQ, since the experiment was aimed at embedding RRI and OS in the R&D units of the organisation, main stakeholders were internal to the institution, including project managers, heads of R&D units, innovation managers and researchers. Nonetheless, other external actors have been involved in the process, including some research public organisations and one private R&D firm.
Finally, the experiment implemented at Sapienza University of Rome, focused on the establishment of a responsible governance in managing a new research centre, involved many stakeholders, both internal and external to the Sapienza University. The main internal stakeholders where staff from Sapienza Research and Technology Transfer Area, researchers, post docs and PhD students from the Department of Chemical, Material and Environmental Engineering, and staff from Saperi&Co. As for the external stakeholders, they included research centres, start-ups, non-governmental organizations, public entities and private associations working on innovation issues.
A governance setting is aimed at starting a set of institutional change inside the research organisation, thus defining an approach which is expected to fit the needs, features of the organization itself and the expectations and desires of staff, leaders, and major stakeholders.
Therefore, the question at the core of sustainability is, in this case, if the process started with the governance setting is able to continue and to evolve over time.
Combining different sources, some basic questions pertaining to sustainability for RRI and OS can be identified.
|Vision||Developing a vision of RRI and OS for the research organizations, in order to allow identifying actions, services, functions, and benefits to be sustained. A vision is a clear picture of what the organization would ideally like the future of RRI and OS to be|
|Governance||Defining a governance structure or a team responsible for RRI and OS in the research organization|
|Action lines||Identifying the action lines which are more appropriate for RRI and OS to be sustainable and to evolve over time, focusing on pre-conditions, risks, and critical aspects|
|Policy support||Verifying if there is comprehensive and sufficient support by the leaders and managers for the development of RRI and OS in general and, more specifically, for the implementation of the action lines|
|Institutional and management capacity||Verifying if there are in the organisation the necessary expertise and skills as well as the management capacity for implementing RRI and OS and, when lacking, identifying the measures to take for coping with the problem|
|Economic, technical and organisational viability||Assessing the human, organisational and technical resources needed and understanding to what extent they are secured on a multi-annual perspective|
|Ownership and mobilization||Verifying whether the main actors and stakeholders within the research organization support RRI and OS, agree with the action lines and sustainability hypotheses, express an interest in getting actively involved and express somehow a sense of ownership over RRI/OS-related programmes|
|Integration||Assessing if the RRI/OS activities are well integrated into the objectives and operations of the research organization|
|Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms||Establishing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for ensuring a quality assessment of the RRI/OS-related actions allowing to single out their strengths and weaknesses or ensuring that they are included in the organization monitoring and evaluation systems of the research organisation|
|Partnerships||Identifying partnerships and cooperation initiatives with external entities or actors necessary to support the development of RRI and OS in the organization|
|Communication||Assessing the communication activities necessary for documenting and communicating RRI and OS both internally and externally the research organization|
|Champions||Identifying champions who can promote and support RRI and OS inside and outside the organization|
- ASDO (2013). Feasibility Study on the sustainability of the STAGES Action Plans, STAGES Project (D6.2).
- European Commission (2002). Project Cycle Management Handbook, EuropeAid Cooperation Office.
- Hutchinson, K. (2010). Literature review of program sustainability assessment tools. British Columbia: Burnaby.
- Washington University (2012), Program Sustainability Assessment Tool, Washington.
Developing a sustainability plan for RRI and OS primarily means finding the institutional arrangements allowing to permanently anchoring RRI and OS in the research organization.
The concept of institutional arrangement is not well defined. Often, the expression is used for referring to cooperation agreements among different actors to pursue specific shared objectives. In other cases, the expression refers to the combination of different policies, rules, norms and values for, e.g., planning and managing a programme or ensuring a given function.
Operationally, we can use the concept of institutional arrangement here to refer to any action or procedure which helps to link RRI and OS to the organization. We could define them the “anchor points” of RRI/OS to the organization.
Their main features can be described as follows:
- The arrangement should have as far as possible a permanent nature (for example, it is not a single event or a temporary programme)
- The arrangement should be explicit (i.e., it should be visible, legitimate or institutionally recognised in the organisation)
- The implementation of the arrangement is under the responsibility of someone (officer, unit, department, etc.)
- The arrangement modifies or substitutes existing arrangements
- The arrangement explicitly refers to aspects of RRI and OS, even when these two concepts are not mentioned.
A set of examples of institutional arrangements linked to RRI and OS are provided below.
|Awards and recognitions||
|Monitoring and evaluation||
|Regulations, standards and procedures||
|Support for internal actors||
- Beacons for Public Engagement, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, (2014). How to support Public Engagement. Supporting leadership for public engagement.
- Cacace, M. et al. (2015). Structural Transformation to Gender Equality in Science, Guidelines, STAGES Project, Rome.
- Memorial University of Newfoundland Office of Public Engagement (2015), Public Engagement at Memorial Activity Report, January 2013-January 2015
- PRAGES Project (2013). Guidelines for Gender Equality Programmes in Science, Rome,
In the last years, different authors tried to develop interpretive schemes of what can be termed to as “new R&I governance models”, i.e., overall strategic choices to make RRI and Open Science the guiding strategy for the governance of research organisations.
In this regard, different views have been developed.
For example, the European Commission Expert Group on Science Governance, chaired by Brian Wynne and with Ulrike Felt as rapporteur, identifies two main regimes of innovation (i.e., a model or a “notion of how things must be done”) in the policy discourse, called respectively by the authors the Regime of Economics of Technoscientific Promises and the Regime of Collective Experimentation.
- The Regime of Economics of Technoscientific Promises is based on the assumption that, if appropriately funded, new technologies can solve human problems, through upstream solutions based on innovation. Industrial and scientific entrepreneurs are viewed as performing a pivotal role in innovation and especially in creating the conditions for raising expectations and building “technoscientific promises”. Citizens are considered not directly involved in innovation, while civil society is seen as an outsider, to be taken into account but irrational, prone to irrational fears and monitored by opinion polls.
- The Regime of Collective Experimentation focuses on the idea that innovation is based on goals constructed around matters of concern. The assumption is that the participation of a variety of actors is productive. Therefore, selective forms of participation should be identified, since what is important is engaging in the experimentation of new solutions, not the public at large but only the groups concerned.
Although alternative, both regimes, are part of the overall trend to recognise open or distributed innovation, i.e., the idea of an innovation emerging from the interaction of actors holding complementary pieces of knowledge, thus creating networks or creative communities, able to cooperate in prevalently informal ways and to co-construct and use new technologies.Laurens Landeweerd, David Townend, Jessica Mesman and Ine Van Hoyweghen identify three main styles in the management of R&I: a technocratic style, an applied ethics style and a public participation style.
- In the technocratic style – which is presently dominant – scientists and technologists are given the responsibility, by political powers, to assess the acceptability of risks for society while law and lawyers play the role of framers of governance procedures. The focus is on risks and risk assessment and not on ethical issues or other criteria to be potentially used to assess whether a new technology deserves to be developed or not. The technocratic style sees scientific experts as neutral, rational and well-informed and the public as irrational and potentially biased because of a lack of knowledge. This style is mainly linked to “governing” (top-down and centralised) as opposed to “governance” (bottom-up and decentralised).
- The applied ethics style of governance is based on the positioning of ethical considerations at the core of the governance of science and innovation. Ethics, thus, comes to be institutionalised as a normative instrument placed at the basis of law and regulation and viewed as a neutral normative tool. The increase in the relevance of this governance style can be also observed in the inclusion of ethical reviews in the evaluation of research applications, in the creation of ethical committees inside research institutions, or in the incorporation of ethical experts at different levels of R&I process.
- The public participation style of governance is based on bottom-up activism aimed at orienting decision making by values, including transparency and democracy. Multiple attempts to increase public participation are done based on the recognition of participation as necessary both for exercising basic human rights and, instrumentally, for preventing protest against unpopular policies. More recently, public input starts being increasingly incorporated in national and international governance in formal or informal ways, including technology assessment, even though practical adoption is often viewed critically.
The authors see Responsible Research and Innovation as a possible fourth style of governance of R&I, combining different stances, including the focus on the social and environmental benefits of R&I, the involvement of society at any level of the innovation process, the assessment and prioritisation of social, ethical and environmental risks, impacts and opportunities, both now and in the future, the role of anticipatory and management mechanisms in shaping R&I trajectories and the recognition of openness and transparency as components of R&I.
Daniele Ruggiu identifies two different versions of the RRI model: the social-empirical version and the normative version.
- The social-empirical version is focused on the social dimension of participatory R&I and, therefore, on interaction processes among different stakeholders engaged in the development of participatory forms of co-responsibility. In this version, Public Engagement plays a strategic role but it is also viewed in its empirical limitations, prevalently due to the difficulty of adapting participatory processes to the fast development of R&I. The focus is not only on the products but also on the purposes of innovation. This version of RRI is not normative since it focuses on the deliberative process necessary to produce values and not on the values in themselves, nor does it define prefixed rules and principles to go by. This is the reason why this version can be defined as “empirical” since principles and rules come not at the beginning but at the end of the participatory/deliberative process.
- The normative version is, on the contrary, focused on the normative dimension of participation. It is focused on the aim of articulating processes of stakeholder co-responsibility around a set of normative filters. These filters are primarily looked for in EU law, as factors steering EU policy towards anticipatory, participatory and responsible outcomes. Therefore, EU objectives are viewed as “normative anchor points” connecting R&I to EU treaties, thus providing RRI with a solid foundation and EU treaties with concrete opportunities for them to be implemented. While the social-empirical version of RRI considers values as intrinsically conflictual, especially in the context of the moral pluralism we live in, the normative version addresses very general values, referring to the interests of civil society and expressed in a rather bureaucratic manner (safety of products, individual rights, protection of health, growth of occupation, etc.).
In the framework of the GREAT Project, Sophie Pellé and Bernard Reber developed two different RRI models.
- RRI Model 1 (Responsibility grounded in social acceptability) includes both substantive and procedural methods of norm production, since it relies upon the existing (especially EU) rules as well as on practical norms to be incorporated in the “responsiveness” dynamic. In this model, ethics approach is primarily consequentialist (acts are right to the extent that they produce good results and wrong to the extent that they produce bad results) and largely based on technology assessment and technology foresight. Participation is mainly understood as a consultation process, aimed at favouring the social acceptability of new technological products, testing their social desirability and preventing costly market failures.
- RRI Model 2 (Responsibility through responsiveness and deliberation) includes a procedural determination of norms and aims at achieving a co-construction of technology. The model relies upon anticipatory governance and explorative philosophy as normative tools, and promotes a relation to knowledge which is not purely rationalistic and consequentialist, but one in which the power of imagination and narratives of the actors involved are recognised.
- European Commission (2007). Taking European Knowledge Society seriously. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
- Landeweerd, L., Townend, D., Mesman, J., & Van Hoyweghen, I. (2015). Reflections on different governance styles in regulating science: a contribution to ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’. Life sciences, society and policy, 11(1), 8.
- Pellé, S., & Reber, B. (2014). Responsible Innovation Models Report.
- Ruggiu, D. (2015). Anchoring European Governance: Two Versions of Responsible Research and Innovation and EU Fundamental Rights as ‘Normative Anchor Points’. NanoEthics, 9(3), 217-235.
Communicating RRI and Open Science is an important aspect to take care of in order to favour the transition process from the governance setting to more permanent and long-term programmes and measures.
A group of Spanish researchers, led by F. Fernández-Beltrán, developed a communication protocol for RRI, which consider three phases of the embedment of RRI in the research organization, i.e., the initial, the development, and the final phases. The protocol is summarized in the table below.
|Communication protocol for RRI|
|Initial||Determination of stakeholders||Elaboration of the Map of Stakeholders and the creation of a contacts database||Inform about the research offer to stakeholders|
|Proactive information||Online information channel (web, blog, etc.), diffusion of informative products (videos, notes, audios, apps), communication in networks, transmedia, conferences, workshops, meetings with researchers, repositories, etc.|
|Negotiation and covenants||Conference of consensus, debates, discussion groups, work groups, online/ offline consultations about interests and expectations, surveys, virtual Exchange environments, citizen science, crowdfunding, etc.||Know the expectations of stakeholders|
|Commitments diffusion||Specific information about the incorporation of contributions/ commitments through the different information channels (informative emails, social networks, etc.), meetings, collaborative actions, documents reporting changes generated, etc.||Make public collaborative agreements and commitments with interest groups|
|Development||Continuity in communication and dialogue||Maintenance, repetition or incorporation of communication and participation actions established on the initial phase, or incorporation of new ones, in order to keep an open communication, incorporate new contributions and renew commitments||Inform/ dialogue about the research process during all its phases|
|Final||Accountability||Transference of results of the dialogue to the field of knowledge, elaboration and diffusion of informative contents and memories||Account about final results|
- Fernández-Beltrán, F., García-Marzá, D., Sanahuja Sanahuja, R., Andrés Martínez, A. & Barberá Forcadell, S. (2017). Managing communication to for the promotion of Responsible Research and Innovation: a proposal of protocol proposal from discourse from the ethics. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 72, pp. 1.040 a 1.062.