Are we losing touch? Societal progress through Open Science

Frontiers showcases the value of Open Science in society at the Swiss Management Association’s 55th annual forum.

55th SMG Forum_Blog_V2

Frontiers showcases the value of Open Science in society at the Swiss Management Association’s 55th annual forum.

The Swiss Management Association is the biggest association of Swiss entrepreneurs, bringing together leading decision-makers from the global economy to inspire, learn and connect. At this year’s forum representatives from fashion, religion and science were invited to reflect on their industry under the theme “Losing Touch”.

A recurring message from all speakers: focus on strategies to remain in touch. Advancement can only be achieved with access to information, access to people and by working in an open and transparent way.

Illaria Venturinin Fendi, fashion entrepreneur, designer and organic farmer, originally from the Fendi fashion empire, determined that sustainability is not only necessary and desperately needed, but an opportunity. An opportunity that she used for social good — re-using materials and working with and restoring local communities.

Reverend Richard Coles, former chart-topping band member of The Communards, discussed how the church has an ability to find common ground that extends political and socio-economic backgrounds, but progress can only be achieved if we are open, dynamic and don’t resist change.

Former Formula 1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, who spent 40 years transforming the sport, recounted the importance of finding a balance between a hands-on approach and placing trust in others.

Risto Siilasmaa, President of the Nokia Corporation, believes in an open-door policy — creating trust and open communication — and encouraging originality in the workplace: “the thinking process is more important than the outcome.”

Frontiers’ CEO, Kamila Markram, reflected on the crucial role of science in society. In the last 200 years, we have seen child mortality rates drastically decreasing and life expectancy radically increasing. Antibiotics, blood transfusions, the steam engine and electricity all demonstrate the fundamental role of science and technology in driving social and economic change. In short: science saves lives.

This societal progress has been achieved even though more than 80% of scientific research papers are locked behind expensive subscription paywalls. Now, as we find ourselves amid the digital revolution, we need to find solutions to new challenges facing our growing population. How can we leverage mass computer power, an unprecedented amount of data and Artificial Intelligence to: eradicate disease, feed and provide clean energy for more than 7 billion people, and simultaneously protect our environment?

Markram believes that researchers do have the solutions, with technology and openness being key. Access to research data and results must be machine readable and customizable, and freely and openly available to the world. The challenges we face today urgently require an impulse from new science — to accelerate scientific and technological innovation, societal progress and economic growth.

Read more about Frontiers’ state-of-the-art technology platform and — as the worlds 4th most cited publisher with the top most cited journals — how we achieve high-quality Open Science.

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