Home 9 Blog Posts 9 The FOSTER Open Science Handbook: A High Quality Teach-the-Teacher Training to Engage Faculty and Staff in Open Science Practices in the Time of Multilingualism: The Rumors Blog

The FOSTER Open Science Handbook: A High Quality Teach-the-Teacher Training to Engage Faculty and Staff in Open Science Practices in the Time of Multilingualism: The Rumors Blog

by | May 4, 2020 | 0 comments

By Roberta Moscon, Office for Open Access, University of Trento <roberta.moscon@unitn.it>

At many universities across Europe, a broad range of training events in Open Science skills and practices are now being offered on the initiative of entrepreneurial university staff, mostly comprised of librarians and research support officers. However, many of those looking to host these events are also seeking support themselves in areas such as how to make research reproducible throughout the entire research process, finding which tools are the most useful, how to make their training events interactive and how to communicate effectively with audiences, including how to engage and hold their attention, especially when they lack interest or understanding of the value of what is being taught.  Staff also seek familiarization with new Open Science topics and Open Science specific lexicons.  The FOSTER Open Science Handbook is designed to offer support to staff in all of these areas and to help them better plan for and manage these new training sessions. Unfortunately, this Handbook was not previously offered in all of the languages where it was needed across Europe for these training sessions to be held. 

Some university staff, librarians and research support officers were pushed to embrace Open Science courses for accomplishing funders requirements (Open Access to scientific publication is an obligation under EU research programmes and data management plans are also a requirement). Others got engaged in disseminating and implementing Open Science principles for making science more accessible, reusable and to facilitate better research. In both cases, librarians have been accompanying this process all the way, adapting to the many far-reaching effects of the digital revolution first and to the on-going cultural change for making science open.

Libraries’ traditional mission seems to have developed from storing and delivering knowledge into also helping to create and communicate new knowledge. Since the planning of contents and activities, the organization of dissemination and training events as well as the management of an audience of experienced professionals requires specific skills and competencies on one side, time and work to get prepared on the other, a group of Italian academic librarians and Open Science officers coordinated by the University of Trento’s Directorate for Research and Library System and under the patronage of the Italian Open Science Support Working Group (IOSSG) collectively translated, replying to a twitter crowdsourcing, the FOSTER Open Science Handbook into Italian.

(Collage of Italians who helped collectively translate the FOSTER Open Science Handbook into Italian.)

The Handbook was book sprinted by 14 European librarians and Open Science experts in 2018 at the German National Library of Science and Technology within the FOSTER project, funded by the Innovation and Research Programme of the European Union. The bringing together of skills, experiences and knowledge resulted in an in-progress, high-quality guide that can be updated, expanded and commented on at any time from the GitHub platform, accessible free online from the FOSTER portal, and multilingual (Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and in the near future French).

Across the various chapters, authors have never lost their main objective: to inspire and motivate researchers and scientists to unconditionally and consciously embrace Open Science, even though it involves a heavier workload at all stages of the whole research cycle, by using non-conventional and more innovative training strategies than the traditional ex cathedra.

The aspect which, more than others, gave translators a headache was the linguistic dilemma of whether to translate terms such as “open science” or “open access” which are anglicisms commonly borrowed and used in any speech on and around Open Science, even in Italian language contexts, although they could be translated literally and faithfully, without running any risk of distorting the meaning, omitting nuances of meaning or creating ambiguities of interpretation and without the need for greater conciseness and impact (“open science” is equivalent to “scienza aperta”; “open access” is equivalent to “accesso aperto”). The issue was resolved in favour of multilingualism. In scientific communication, as the Helsinki Initiative aims to affirming, the dissemination of research results in one’s own local language creating an even greater impact that goes beyond the academic world, reaching and sharing new knowledge with society as a whole.

While recognizing the “homologation in favor of English in technical-scientific discourse”1 and the fact that English is “lived as a guarantee…of modernity and progress”2, are some reasons why English has consolidated its position as the language of technology and science at the expense of national languages. Most of the content was rendered in Italian. However, some compromises had to be made, nevertheless, especially in the case of computer jargon for which the English terminus tecnicus was kept, as it was the most conventional and universally well-established solution.

The Italian translation was finished and published in occasion of the Open Access Week 2019, a yearly international event in support of initiatives and projects to promote Open Science. We made the translation open in ZENODO, an open archive, and on the FOSTER portal. By doing so, we wanted to give our contribution to the Open Science cause, hoping that many colleagues will find inspiration and useful information for the organization of their training events and therefore for the diffusion of the Open Science principles among their scientific community. A research well done and shared can help to face the challenges our society is called to solve as quickly and effectively as possible for the benefit of all and everyone.


Jon Tennant, Founder of the Open Science MOOC and author of many papers on Open Access and brilliant Open Science advocate, died on April 9, 2020. Jon participated in the FOSTER Open Science Handbook book-sprint in Hannover. His precious legacy will live on. 


1. (B. Cappuzzo, Il Linguaggio informativo Inglese e Italiano: considerazioni su alcuni aspetti lessicali di confronto tra le due lingue, “Mots Palabras Words”, (2005), p. 68).

2.  J.C. Hagege, Morte e rinascita delle lingue. Linguistic diversity as a heritage of humanity, “Feltrinelli”, (2002) p.100).

Roberta Moscon, Author, Office of Open Access, Trento University


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