Information on UGC policies on the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

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Dear University Grants Committee Secretariat,

In light of the new UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which asks that Member States (which includes Hong Kong, via the representation of China) to take whatever legislative or other steps may be required to meet these, what measures has the University Grants Committee started taking to look into aligning their policies with these? Are there any policies on how to follow these recommendations, and have there been any meetings and committees set up yet to address the intention of the recommendations to influence the development of national laws and practices?

Yours faithfully,

Scott Edmunds

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Sent request to 大學教育資助委員會秘書處 again, using a new contact address.

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大學教育資助委員會秘書處

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From:        UGC Enquiry/UGC/HKSARG
To:        Scott Edmunds <[FOI #991 email]>
Date:        02/03/2022 15:56
Subject:        Re: Freedom of Information request - Information on UGC
policies on the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science
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大學教育資助委員會秘書處

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University Grants Committee Secretariat

From:        UGC Enquiry/UGC/HKSARG
To:        Scott Edmunds <[FOI #991 email]>
Date:        10/03/2022 18:28
Subject:        Re: Freedom of Information request - Information on UGC
policies on the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science
Sent by:        PY WONG

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Dear Sir/Madam,

Your enquiry is still being processed by this Secretariat.  We will give
you a reply at earliest possible.  Thanks.

University Grants Committee Secretariat

From:        UGC Enquiry/UGC/HKSARG
To:        Scott Edmunds <[FOI #991 email]>
Date:        02/03/2022 15:56
Subject:        Re: Freedom of Information request - Information on UGC
policies on the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science
Sent by:        PY WONG

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Dear Sir/Madam,
This is to acknowledge receipt of your email and we will get back to you
shortly.

University Grants Committee Secretariat

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TP CHOI, 大學教育資助委員會秘書處

Dear Mr Edmunds

I refer to the question you made to the University Grants Committee (UGC)
Secretariat on measures taken by the UGC to follow up on UNESCO’s
recommendation on Open Science.

        The Research Grants Council (RGC), which operates under the aegis
of UGC, is one of the agencies administering HKSAR Government’s funding
support for academic research.  But since Open Science touches on a very
broad spectrum of issues concerning education and research in general, it
will involve the consorted efforts of many different agencies and such
stakeholders as universities and other higher education institutions.  

        We provide below some examples of RGC’s practices which are in
line with some of the actions as recommended by UNESCO:

i.        RGC operates various collaborative research funding schemes to
support research that bring together multiple sources of knowledge.  In
particular, the Collaborative Research Fund supports multi-investigator,
multi-disciplinary projects in order to encourage more research groups to
engage in creative and high-quality cross-disciplinary /
cross-institutional projects.  Also, the Research Impact Fund encourages
local academics to consider and articulate the potential of research to
deliver benefits to the wider community, and encourages a greater volume
of research beyond academia (e.g. with government departments, the
business sector, the industry and research institutes).
ii.        As for evaluation processes, all applications for funding
submitted to the RGC are subject to a robust, open and fair peer review
process.  Funding decisions are made by local and overseas experts in
panels/committees based on the academic merits of individual applications.
iii.        To ensure that its funded projects will have their research
methods and outputs widely available for open review and scrutiny, RGC
requires applicants to provide an “Output Dissemination Plan” with details
of target journal, conference or other dissemination means, as well as a
“Pathways to Impact Statement” to allow experts in panels / committees to
assess the demonstrable benefits that the proposed research would bring to
the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the
environment or quality of life; and those beyond academia.
iv.        In addition, the UGC has begun a two-phase Open Access Plan to
address the opening up of publications and research data. Phase I aims at
collecting and analysing open access data while Phase II will begin the
implementation.  A review between the two Phases will be held by early
2024 to consider and decide on the scope and magnitude of research data
and information sharing.
v.        RGC and other public funding agencies have formed a “Liaison
Group on Research” led by the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government to
strengthen co-ordination and collaboration for the interest of the local
research sector.  For example, the Hong Kong Research Portal has recently
been launched as a centralised portal to enable applicants to more easily
identify suitable research funding opportunities across agencies.  This is
particularly useful for researchers in the disciplines which are supported
by multiple funding agencies through discipline-specific funding schemes.
vi.        RGC regularly holds public engagement activities such as public
lectures inviting researchers to share their research findings and
knowledge with the public.

Thank you for your enquiry.

     (CHOI Tsz-pui)
for Secretary General, UGC