The Value of Openness, Inclusion, Communication, and Engagement for Science in a Post-Pandemic World
A key project in the Digital Societies Research Group


While the coronavirus pandemic’s impacts have been largely negative, and in many instances catastrophic, Covid-19 also served to bring about some positive changes in the way we carry out, communicate, and engage with science. More research has been shared openly, with a progressive increase in the use of preprints, research data sharing, and public communication of science, particularly in mainstream media. These changes have the potential to foster a more open and inclusive approach to research and scholarship and to bolster our capacity to face present and future societal challenges — but only if the changes persist beyond the pandemic. 

To better understand the long-term impacts of this shift for a more resilient and informed society, this project seeks to investigate and share new empirical evidence of the value of opening science, to other scholars and to the public, during and beyond the pandemic. It brings together a transnational team of scholars with complementary expertise in open science, scholarly and science communication, and research impact, to examine three main questions in the context of the pandemic and post-pandemic period: 1) How is the value of open science discussed and positioned? 2) Who adopted or contributed to open science practices and how? and 3) How has the relationship between research and the public been affected by the opening of research? The transnational team  —  based in Canada, Brazil, Germany and the UK —  is employing a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods from social and information sciences to demonstrate the long-term value of openness, inclusion, and equity in the communication of science, while warning against any barriers and pernicious effects. 

Contacts in Sheffield: Stephen Pinfield, Melanie Bension Marshall

Project duration: May 2022 - November 2024

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.