Open Access initiatives promise to extend access to scholarly conversations. In this blog post, Tony Ross-Hellauer, Angela Fessl, and Thomas Klebel, ask whether open and responsible research practices could perpetuate existing inequalities resulting in a system where the rich get richer and researchers from the Global South and less privileged backgrounds lose out.

ON-MERRIT is a 30-month project funded by the European Commission to investigate how and if open and responsible research practices could perpetuate existing inequalities.

The ON-MERRIT project has now been running for one year and has just entered its hot phase of primary research. So far, the experts have found that scientific resources are currently used only by companies in certain R&D-heavy fields. Their planned follow-up inquiries and questionnaires will try to shed light on whether open access to research outputs could change this. They have also found that researchers and policy-makers are described as living in different and frequently incompatible worlds. Therefore, the direct use of research outputs can be lower than expected, with policy-makers relying heavily on their close networks for scientific information, which doesn’t necessarily include academics.

In the coming months, the experts will be conducting a host of inquiries, surveys, and expert workshops with researchers, industry, and policy-makers, as well as continuing their analysis of Open Science resources.

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If you are interested in any of these activities, the experts invite you to get in touch!

Tony Ross-Hellauer is the leader of the Open and Reproducible Research Group and Senior Researcher at Know-Center   

Angela Fessl is working as a senior researcher in the area of technology-enhanced learning at Know-Center. 

Thomas Klebel is a researcher and project manager at Know-Center and a member of the Open and Reproducible Research Group.