Open science emerges as a trend to transform the way of research, from scientific production to the relationship with society. international networks as pioneers OCSDNet drive to involve citizens in science and technology since the recognition of the plurality of knowledge and collaboration with stakeholders in the territory projects. We approached the project “Improvement of adaptive capacity in two Model Forests in Latin America through Science open and collaborative,” which explores the issue of climate change from a citizen perspective in two Model Forests in Latin America (Reventazón in Costa Rica Risaralda in Colombia) to discover the current key development of open and participatory science.
To do this, we spoke with Josique Lorenzo Lemire, specializing in sustainable development and main coordinator of the project from the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica Anthropologist.
Q: What is the Open Science and Collaborative Development project you are developing?
The Open Science and Collaborative Development Project promotes open and collaborative science in two Model Forests in Latin America, Reventazón in Costa Rica and Risaralda in Colombia, in order to improve the adaptive capacity of rural groups to the threats and opportunities of change climate.
Our challenge is to work from participatory methods with groups of citizens committed to the development of their communities in areas of science and technology. The theme chosen is that of adaptation to climate change, but what is really important to work is the basic question underlying: encouraging scientists to collaborate with community representatives, who have the opportunity to play a central role, to share what they know and comment on some priorities in your community. We want proposals arise from them because we believe they are true local experts.
Q: What is this philosophy of open and collaborative science?
Specifically, with this project we seek to achieve a more open scientific process and therefore more useful to promote the development of society, working for the democratization of knowledge to flow more freely. We believe that knowledge is of all and for this, the value of collaboration is essential.
Model Forests, as a concept, is linked to participatory governance and a culture of collaboration, we could be defined as multisectoral participatory social platforms. It is something that is not so easy to implement, but we work in that direction. I think the Model Forests provide a good foundation and inspiration to explore ways of participatory research.
Q: What would you say are your keys to success?
I believe that participatory research is relatively new within the Model Forest Network (RIABM, something we are trying to promote. In all areas there is a university or research center and we would like to improve on that link or collaboration between the academic institution and society. We find that the Model Forest platforms, despite its weaknesses, are ideal for this.
From our experience, the concept is that we use to guide our actions from the perspective of knowledge dialogue. And we could highlight two key elements:
Respect for the diversity of knowledge and viewpoints. Today it does not take a PhD to do science, everyone can contribute to it, children, elderly, people with different formations, etc., what we need is interest, commitment, motivation and a minimum of scientific curiosity.
The empowerment of rural groups. Actually, we are not inventing anything because participatory methods already exist for a long time but our goal is to revisit that concept, and show that non-professional scientists, particularly rural communities, can also contribute to science and their ideas can and they must be taken into consideration.
In short, it is essential to act locally when it comes to development and this takes time. Every social process and dynamics of transformation requires a medium and long term to bring about change, and this is our great challenge, because the scale at which we are working now we just pretend plant some seeds.
Q: How does the possibility of developing a project like this come about?
We adopted this philosophy as part of an international network that shares a broader mission: to find ways to help reduce the imbalance between North and South to achieve a fairer global scientific culture. This network is called OCSDNet or “Open & Collaborative Science in Development Network” and is funded by IDRC of Canada and the Ministry of International Development of the United Kingdom, and coordinated by iHub (Kenya) and the University of Toronto, Scarborough (Canada ). As part of this network they have been funded another 12 projects like ours in many developing countries.
In OCSDNet all have different ideas and approaches in relation to the Open Science and try to share our ideas and conclusions to advance the collective construction of knowledge and experience. In the case of our particular project, the executing agency is CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education), in collaboration with partners such as the Ibero-American Model Forest Network (IAMFN) and the Technological University of Pereira.
Q: What have been the most important activities that have developed?
The greatest effort has focused for now at participating actors. For example, one of the first steps was to select various actors through Model Forest platforms. We chose actors from various communities, with different profiles, from different areas, different associations to enrich the exchange. People who are not used to working together and have different experiences. In the case of Costa Rica, they had also conducted some focus groups to better understand the above communities.
Then began a process of participatory exchange workshops, training and creation. We have already held two workshops in Colombia and we are preparing the second in Costa Rica. The project has evolved a lot since it was approved and it is also interesting, another consequence of the opening: let the implementation of development projects such as these to be flexible and adaptable to new circumstances, without too strict program. We have organized activities including a seminar on Open Science at the Technological University of Pereira (Colombia) as complementary to the project activities.
In addition, we continue connecting with OCSDNet international network. In February, we will all gather in Bangkok to discuss the challenges and activities can be carried out as a network, worldwide.
In our case, we hope to further promote open science in rural communities in Latin America in the coming years, and we are working hard and seeking new alliances for these first seeds of innovation to bear fruit.
More information: Model Forests, and can contact Josique Lorenzo Lemire through your email: firstname.lastname@example.org