Wandering In The Desert
We are living in a world that is rapidly changing, with each passing day. Situations that we consider as stables, turn upside down, in a matter of days, even hours often. Certain changes shock us, leaving us in awe, while others are positive, with technology making our lives easier, one kilobyte at a time. Through a fast paced life, and insanely competitive environments, it seems that everybody is looking for their oasis.
All changes in life, from the tiniest change to the biggest, most impactful ones, begin through education. Even if that fact is not always clear right from the start, if we consider education to be the beginning of everything, then that case is solid. And by changing education, we change everything, towards the better.
Looking For An Oasis
On that exact concept, Oasis was inspired, developed, and eventually born. The project is an initiative of four HEIs (Higher Education Institutions), 1 research center, 1 pan-EU Network of institutions, and two enterprises. Oasis focuses on integrating Open Science (OS) technologies in education through practical applications, training and mentoring activities. In this way, the project aims on boosting students’ appreciation of Open Science entrepreneurship disciplines and professions and also their understanding of sustainable solutions that address Open Science challenges of the 21st century.
Of course, in order for the above to be envisioned, and effectively developed, a problem was realized and identified. For a long time, educational institutions have been preparing students for the existing job market, basically developing working staff for already established organizations. That means that little to no space is left and allowed, in order to develop initiatives and entrepreneurship.
What Is Open Science?
According to the European Commission, Open Science represents a new approach to the scientific process, based on cooperative work and new ways of diffusing knowledge by using digital technologies and new collaborative tools. Simply put, Open Science not only supports free, digital access for all, with no restrictions, regarding the primary outputs of publicly funded research, publications and research data alike, but it goes beyond that; OS is about extending the principles of openness and access to the whole research cycle, including sharing and collaboration as early as possible, thus entailing a systemic change to the way science and research is done.
With the above mindset, we are standing in front of two extraordinary outcomes. First, research, and the data that arise, are free for all to access and reflect upon; secondly, solely the fact that this amount of information is free to access for interested students, leads to the alteration of how educational institutions perceive the reasons and goals of education. And of course, the results of the whole process.
OASIS has arrived and it certainly comes with excitement and determination. Changing the way HEIs are structured is not easy business, but the OS ecosystem is a great start to find the core; and re-shape it.