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Greater transparency in the management of research information: the University of Bologna signs the ‘Barcelona Declaration’

The document promotes the openness of research data and support for the infrastructure that makes it possible. This will lead to a more transparent process for managing and assessing the quality of research

The University of Bologna signs the "Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information” policy document that promotes openness of information about research activities and encourages more democratic and transparent decision-making processes. As one of the first signatories, the University of Bologna will help define the next set of commitments to support this area of Open Science.

The declaration was drawn up by a group of more than 25 experts and aims to facilitate the transition to an open research information management system and a more transparent research quality management and assessment process.

Administrative, accounting and bibliographical information (e.g. citations), both on the actual scientific results and on their use and impact, play a fundamental role in both the allocation of resources and the evaluation of researchers and institutions. However, much of this information is currently managed by commercial infrastructures that process it according to criteria that are only partially public and shared.

Instead, the open use of research data would allow information from different sources to be linked and integrated. For this reason, the Barcelona Declaration promotes the openness of research data and support for the infrastructures that make it possible.

Four main commitments are set out in the document: to make openness of research data the norm for scientific activities carried out in universities and research organisations; to use services and systems that support and enable open research information; to support the infrastructure that makes it possible and to support collective action to accelerate the transition to open research information.

The signing of the Barcelona Declaration is one of the many initiatives promoted by the University of Bologna to encourage the opening up of research information. These include the activities of the Research Centre for Open Scholarly Metadata, to which the OpenCitations open infrastructure organisation is linked, and which together with other organisations and service providers is one of the supporters of the Barcelona Declaration. However, the University of Bologna is also experimenting with other Open Research Information infrastructures, such as OpenAIRE Monitor, the aggregator of bibliographic information and data on research projects in the European Research Area.

In addition, the University already makes available the bibliographic information describing scientific publications, doctoral theses and other research outputs archived in institutional repositories and the institutional publishing service (AlmaDL) for scientific journals, series and monographs makes its metadata available in free and open formats.

Finally, the University of Bologna was the first Italian university to implement a portal for open administrative data, in line with the regulations on transparency of public administrative data: a tool that could be used in the future to openly disseminate information on research projects and collaborations.