Measuring Open Science

Open Science

“Open science commonly refers to efforts to make the output of publicly funded research more widely accessible in digital format to the scientific community, the business sector, or society more generally” writes the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its newly released study “Making Open Science a Reality”.

In the digital age the role of tools like Authorea is to increase the efficiency of research as well of its diffusion. The benefits of open science identified by the OECD are multiple:

  1. Reducing duplication costs in collecting, creating, transferring and reusing data and scientific material; allowing more research from the same data; and multiplying opportunities for domestic and global participation in the research process.

  2. The greater scrutiny offered by open science allows a more accurate verification of research results.

  3. Increased access to research results (in the forms of both publications and data) can foster spillovers not only to scientific systems but also innovation systems more broadly. (Firms and individuals may use and reuse scientific outputs to produce new products and services.)

  4. Open science also allows the closer involvement and participation of citizens.

The Open Science Index (OSI) and Collaborative Open Science Index (COSI) for an Authorea user.

Open Science Metrics

As pointed out by the OECD “Open science can be supported by defining the right incentive mechanisms to promote open behaviours in science and research”. Incentive mechanism have to rely on metrics taking into account open science and data-sharing efforts. “The use of new online scholarly (and non-scholarly) tools to disseminate results offers the possibility to develop and employ new metrics to capture different types of impacts of scientific outputs. These new or alternative metrics are often referred to as altmetrics (Priem et al. 2010).”

Two new altmetrics for Open Science: OSI and COSI

We introduce two new altmetrics that measure the degree of openness and collaboration of individuals and institutions. The Open Science Index (OSI) and the Collaborative Open Science Index (COSI).

  • OSI: the fraction of articles written in the open. So, for example, a scholar has OSI of 50% if half of their articles are publicly accessible. Similarly, an institution has an OSI of 70% if 7 out of 10 articles authored by affiliated scholars are open.

  • COSI: the fraction of collaborators participating in open articles. So, for example, a scholar has a COSI of 67% if 2 out of 3 co-authors are collaborating on an open article. The COSI is a collaboration-weighted measure of openness.

We have introduced these metrics on all Authorea profile pages and institutional pages to measure openness of individual and institutional contributions alike1


  1. Disclaimer: In calculating these metrics we only consider articles with more than 50 edits (commits). Also, as Authorea is currently used mostly in the hard sciences, institution OSI and COSI are based on small statistics.

The Open Science Index (OSI) and Collaborative Open Science Index (COSI) for an institution on Authorea: the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge.

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