Open Science Ambassadors are early-career-researchers (ECR) of the Max Planck Society interested in open science topics and its systematic implementation. They not only seek to make their research open, but push for change in their community and inspire their colleagues to join the movement.  Open Science Ambassadors are representatives of open science at their institutes. By doing so, they can spread awareness and provide valuable information to their colleagues, for example by giving an institute seminar or presentation. Additionally, ambassadors become part of a network that exchange ideas and methods on how to better apply open science.   The ambassadors program meets together once a year in-person or online, to discuss open science strategies, participate in workshops and discuss the status of open science within and outside of the Society. 

Goals of the Open Science Ambassadors Program (OSAP)

The specific objectives of OSAP are: 

  • To train early career researchers from the Max Planck Society on open science in order to share and distribute knowledge throughout and beyond the MPG. 
  • To promote the integration of principles of openness and transparency into the standard research workflow of early career researchers. 
  • To promote real changes and a sustainable transition towards open science in the long term. 

Tasks of the Ambassadors

The main task of the ambassadors is to promote Open Science practices at their institutes and support colleagues that want to apply it to their research. Time invested will vary depending on personal interest, as well as on already existing Open Science engagement at the MPIs. Additionally, we expect ambassadors to serve as communication links between the Open Science Ambassadors network, the newly formed Open Science Panel, and their MPIs, as means to spread materials and tools provided by PhDnet and MPDL. 

About the program

In 2014, the first Open Access Ambassadors (OAA) meeting developed the idea to train members from all Max Planck Institutes in the principles of Open Access (OA). They would become OA representatives at their Institutes and spread the message to their colleagues. The OAA program provided the ambassadors with lectures and workshops, highlighted the importance of OA, and hosted the exchange of perspectives between ECR and experienced researchers. The program continued through online communication and a second meeting in 2019. By then, the number of ambassadors grew to over 80 ECRs from all three sections of the Society.

The ambassadors shared their concerns regarding the impact of OA in the careers, the lack of support in some institutes, and the pressure to publish in high impact journals – independent of their open status. They also reported disparity in OA information between institutes, as some are very active in Open Science topics or a general lack of interest.

After a short pause during the global pandemic, the program was relaunched in 2021 as the Open Science Ambassadors Program (OSAP), with a wider focus on all types of Open Science initiatives. Both in 2021 and 2022, professionals and ECR shared their experiences with open access, open data, preregistration and alternatives to the current peer-review publishing standards. Today, the program continues to train and support Open Science Ambassadors from many Max Planck Institutes by sharing materials and resources on Open Science. Additionally, the program supports young researchers who are motivated to pursue open science and are looking to make a difference in the way we do science.

The Open Science Ambassadors also have a say in the direction of science within the Society, and had a seat at the Max Planck Open Science Panel held by the General Administration in 2023.