What does open science mean in the real world? My experiences in becoming EGU’s editorial manager

What does open science mean in the real world? My experiences in becoming EGU’s editorial manager

For nearly 7 months now, I have held the position of EGU’s editorial manager. However, my interest in and passion for open access and open science in general goes back several years. Here, it is important to make the distinction: open science is a broad concept that encompasses transparency and accessibility in the entire research process, while open access is an important component of open science focusing on making scientific publications freely accessible to anyone.

During my undergraduate course, I had the opportunity to publish my research findings early on in my academic journey. At the time, my understanding of open science was still developing, and my main motivation to look for open access publishing models was to increase the citation potential of my research and improve my career development and job prospects. Yet, the research group I was a part of in Brazil lacked the funds to cover the article processing charges (APCs) often associated with scientific publications. This financial limitation persisted during my MSc degree, but everything changed when I relocated to the UK to pursue my doctorate.

Eduardo Queiroz Alves, EGU Editorial Manager

In the UK, the strong contrast in resources between my current and previous institutions became evident. Funding was available to publish my research in an open format, and my comprehension of open science, expanded beyond citation metrics. I gained access to a wide range of publications and became a go-to person for friends and colleagues seeking information from research papers. However, I had an eye-opening experience when, while spending time in Brazil for fieldwork, I was unable to access published papers authored by myself. Being unable to read my own work, which was not available to Brazilian institutions, left a strong impression on me. It was then that I really grasped that, although open science views vary geographically, the concept means more than increasing the visibility and reach of research results: it is about promoting equity and inclusivity in academia.

Besides developing an enthusiasm for open-access research, during my PhD I became interested in science communication to the broader public, which is another foundation of the open science movement. I have always enjoyed writing blog posts featuring different aspects of my PhD work to reach a broader audience and get my research across. After the award of my degree, my interest in academic writing and crafting stories to my peers and to the lay public led me to apply for editorial roles in various organizations. In this context, when the editorial manager vacancy at EGU was advertised, I had no doubts that this was something I wanted to do. Being the editorial manager of a leading scientific organization, which has a portfolio of 19 open-access journals featuring a unique peer review model, would put me in a position to better advocate for open science practices within my research community and beyond! I knew this was going to be a challenging but rewarding position, especially considering the growing value and recognition of open access publishing models for scholarly literature.

While the expansion of open-access publishing can be generally perceived as a good thing, it is important to discuss which of these models are fair, sustainable and worth being pursued in the long term. The open science debate is an ongoing part of academic development and should be a process that invites the contribution of different members of the academic community, including both senior researchers and Early Career Scientists (ECS). However, if we are to discuss the future of science dissemination, the perspectives and experiences of the latter, i.e., of the future science leaders, need to be considered. The good news is that ECS recognize the importance of the open science movement and are willing to engage with it in various ways. At EGU, we will be inviting the contribution of different and diverse voices to enrich this debate!

Watch this space for more blog posts highlighting the unique features of our publication model and our plans for the future! Do you have any insights on open access, or would you like to be involved in this conversation? Feel free to drop me a line or two at

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Eduardo Queiroz Alves is the Editorial Manager at the European Geosciences Union. He supports the executive editors of EGU journals, the EGUsphere coordinator, and the Publications Committee, while collaborating with Copernicus Publications to develop inter-journal initiatives and promote the EGU publications. He holds a PhD in Archaeological Science/Earth Sciences from the University of Oxford in the UK and is passionate about open access communication.

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