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Open Science

The development of the Open Science Policy

The University of Zurich aims to establish Open Science as the default. With the enactment of the Open Science Policy in September 2021, it took an important step towards realizing this vision. The policy sets out expectations and recommendations on ways in which the practices and values of an open academic culture can be integrated into the structure of the UZH, and in its research and teaching.

Involvement of the UZH community

All UZH employees and students were able to comment on the draft policy in 2020 by means of a survey. Over 2000 UZH members took part in the survey, 642 filled out the entire questionnaire. At the same time, the Open Science Committee reviewed the policy, and several faculties and institutes provided institutional feedback.

Results of the survey

An overwhelming majority welcome an Open Science culture and support practices that promote open exchange, transparency, reproducibility and accountability. The most important feedback can be summarized as follows:

Career opportunities for young researchers

Open Science must not jeopardize the future employment opportunities of researchers at the beginning of their careers. In view of the global movement towards Open Science, an open scientific practice can also improve career opportunities in the future.


Open science practices should play an essential role in hiring, appointment- and promotion processes.

Different cultures of science

The requirements of the individual departments are very different and must therefore be taken into account during the implementation of the policy.


The financial and administrative support as well as a more comprehensive Open Science educational offer are essential for the advancement of Open Science.

Open Access

The obligation to publish Open Access was the most controversial aspect. Among other things, respondents pointed out the lack of high-quality Open Access journals, as well as the influence journal impact factors still have in certain disciplines. Different disciplines therefore require different Open Access options.

Commitment versus recommendation

A main point of criticism was the fact that Open Science requirements were formulated as mandatory in the first version of the policy, because such fundamental changes in the research culture need time and resources. In particular, the issue of level playing field in an international context raised concerns.

Due to this feedback, the draft has been revised and now includes expectations and recommendations instead of requirements. This also addresses the concerns that many changes in the scientific process require time and resources. The Open Access chapter was most extensively revised. It now contains a list of Open Access options that can be selected depending on the individual situation. Finally, the wording in all chapters was refined thanks to the feedback, and the reported needs for support will influence the implementation planning.

Realizing Open Science together

We would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey and in the revision of the policy. The advancement of Open Science will only happen if we collaborate. Your contribution is therefore very valuable.

Measures to promote open science

In the coming months, the Open Science Team, the Vice President Research, the Open Science Committee and the Libraries will work together with the faculties to determine the need for additional support. The results will be the basis for the implementation plan.

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