Keeping science open? Current challenges in the day-to-day reality of universities

We published a white paper exploring challenges in the day-to-day reality at universities of science & technology operating at the interface of open science and knowledge security.
18th October 2023
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Through scientific research and education, universities have been catalysts for social, technological and societal progress. International collaboration greatly accelerates this progress, including notably academics and university professionals engaging with their peers all over the world.

While international cooperation is still common practice amongst universities, the geopolitical reality has drastically changed with the COVID pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the tragedy in the Middle East and increasing tensions between China and the US, including around Taiwan. The European Commission has recently put focus on risks that might be harmful to ‘Europe’s economic security’, for instance related to the resilience of supply chains, or the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure.

In response to the changing global geopolitical environment, the previously largely unchallenged slogan at the EU level of ‘as open as possible, as closed or restricted as necessary’ has come under increasing pressure, in some areas even moving away from openness being the inherent and preferred default option.

The objective of the published paper ‘Keeping science open?’ is threefold, to:

  1. provide more background to the discourse ‘as open as possible and as restricted as necessary’;
  2. explore what it means for day-to-day operations at universities of S&T to be ‘as open as possible and as restricted as necessary’;
  3. provide recommendations to keep science open in this rapidly evolving context.

The lead author of the paper, Irna van der Molen (University of Twente), has further elaborated on some key messages in a viewpoint article published on 19 October in ScienceBusiness.

White paper


For more information and enquiries, please contact the lead writer of this white paper Irna van der Molen (University of Twente) or Mattias Björnmalm (Secretary General) at

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