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Nancy Pontika and the seminal Open Science Taxonomy

Atualizado: 29 de abr. de 2022

Versão em português Interview / Entrevista

Dr Nancy Pontika has a PhD in Scholarly Communications with a focus on Open Access from the School of Library and Information Science, at Simmons College, Massachusetts, United States. She has been involved in international open access projects, such as the Open Access Tracking Project (OATP), the Open Access Directory (OAD), in which she also serves as an Editor, and the SPARC Europe Open Access Diary. Her interests are scholarly communications, licenses and rights, open science, open access, and open access funders' policies and their compliance. In the past she did an internship at the Berkman Center for the Internet and the Society, Harvard University, as a research assistant on open access, at the Repositories Support Project as the Project Coordinator and she was also a repository manager at Royal Holloway, University of London. Currently she is working for CORE, an aggregation service of open access content, jointly funded by The Open University and Jisc. She is also the External Liaison Officer at the United Kingdom Council for Research Repositories (UKCoRR). Nancy has been involved in five European-funded FOSTER, FOSTER Plus, OpenMinTeD, FIT4RRI and ON-MERRIT. She has published both at international conferences and journals based on this work. She is the first author of the Open Science Taxonomy, which has more than 13,350 views and 1,100 downloads on Figshare, while the corresponding article has received more than 108 citations, according to a Google Scholar count, since 2015.

Pontika et al. (2015), to see the Portuguese version, go here.

Nancy Pontika also created the Introduction to Open Science course for the FOSTER project and the Introduction to Text and Data Mining course for the OpenMinTeD project. The latter is aimed at non-technical research support employees and aims, with practical exercises, to help them understand the concept of Text and Data Mining, a field that has been gaining attention from funders and researchers. In 2019, Nancy was one of the authors who won the Vannevar Bush Award for Best Article for Do authors deposit on time? Tracking open access policy compliance (HERRMANNOVA; PONTIKA; KNOTH, 2019), presented at the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries.

Learn more at:


In early December 2021, Nancy Pontika kindly gave a brief interview to Ciência da Informação Express - CIEXpress addressing Open Science and its taxonomy, some professional questions and much more about the future of Science. Check out!

1 What has changed in Open Science after the publication of the Open Science Taxonomy?

I am afraid that there was no further study after this taxonomy, therefore I cannot give you an official answer. The volume of content has increased with regards to the taxonomy terms. Here in the UK where I work I am also seeing that there is plenty of progress with regards to the reproducibility as well, for example via the UKRI.

2 Did you expect the great impact of this work on the world stage?

Yes, we were expecting a high impact and I believe that the taxonomy has received it. It has been used quite a lot of times in the EU presentations and this is the most highly cited papers that I have so far. I am seeing that it is cited from authors in many languages, not only English. Here is the article’s summary page and the article’s citations. In addition, it has been translated in other languages as well.

3 After so long, in your opinion, which facet has evolved the most and which needs more attention from the scientific community?

Again, we haven’t done any research, thus what I am saying here is my personal opinion based on how I am seeing the topic evolving. For example, the Open Access topics are still hot with plenty of research administrators, authors, funders, etc. caring about them. Gradually we are seeing that Open Data is increasing as well, with more and more Open Data policies coming out, both from institutions and funders. At the same time, Open Science Policies are increasing as well, from many funders, both nationally and internationally. In general, as I don’t have any research data I cannot be sure but nonetheless there is progress.

4 Today, does open science taxonomy still fully represent Open Science?

I would say that it does!!!

5 How are you currently practicing open science?

Personally, I am publishing my articles Open Access and share my data openly. At a professional level, I work for EU funded projects in Open Science, for example a project that will end this coming March is the ON-MERRIT, which tries to investigate the Matthew Effect in Open Science. At the same time I work for CORE, a global harvester of open access content. I am also involved in other volunteer initiatives, such as the Open Research Competencies Coalition and the Open Access Directory, where I am the Editor.

6 What difficulties have you encountered in creating the taxonomy and advocating for Open Access, since the beginning of your Open Access career in 2007?

I would say that the biggest challenge relating to the taxonomy itself was taking the green light from everyone in the consortium about the order of the taxonomy terms. This taxonomy is not the only way that information could be presented, and we do know that it is not perfect. Nonetheless, we had to make a decision at some point and publish it. So, we had to ignore that there were, and in fact still are, different ways of organising it and come up with a version that the vast majority of the consortium agreed.

In 2007 I started my PhD in Open Access in Boston, MA, USA. Back then when I would give an advocacy presentation on open access some academics would not get the point some others would laugh at me and it was only a few of them who would listen to me. In fact, at this point it was much easier to convince the master students at the Library School, than the academics themselves. This continued over the years, and even after my PhD. When I used to work at Royal Holloway, University of London as a repository manager and open access advocate some researchers were objecting to the open access concept. But soon enough this changed, funders have been promoting open science and now it is the norm. I truly feel that we do have a long way until Open Science and all the Open Science practices become reality. We should not give up though, but try to create the processes, tools and find the right arguments in order to convince researchers, as knowledge should not be sold (especially in these extremely high prices, with double-dipping, etc.).

7 What do you suggest for young researchers?

To be as much open as possible. Some time ago I wrote a paper for early career researchers

8 And what do you suggest for researchers who are struggling to change?

Again, to be as much open as possible. To listen to their research support administrators, follow the open access and open science practices of their fellow researchers that lead and serve as ambassadors, and not to fear change. Follow most recent initiatives, e.g. DORA. Nonetheless, this change does not happen only at this level, there needs to be a combination of bottom up and top-down activities. Feel free to read our most recent paper on that topic.


HERRMANNOVA, Drahomira; PONTIKA, Nancy; KNOTH, Petr. Do Authors Deposit on Time? Tracking Open Access Policy Compliance. In: IEEE/ACM Joint Conference on Digital Libraries(JCDL), 2-6 Jun 2019, Urbana-Champaign, IL, pp. 206–216.DOI:

KNOWLEDGE MEDIA INSTITUTE. Athena SWAN @KMi Celebrating The OU's 50. Milton Keynes, 2017. Disponível em: Acesso em: 3 dez. 2021.

PONTIKA, Nancy. Open Access: What’s in it for me as an early career researcher? Journal of Science Communication, v. 14, n. 4, 15 dec. 2015. DOI: Disponível em: Acesso em: 3 dez. 2021.

PONTIKA, Nancy. People. Milton Keynes, 2021. Disponível em:

PONTIKA, N. et al. Fostering open science to research using a taxonomy and an elearning portal. In: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON KNOWLEDGE TECHNOLOGIES AND DATA-DRIVEN BUSINESS, 15., 2015. Proceedings... Graz, Áustria: Association for Computing Machinery, 2015. Disponível em: Acesso em: 12 fev. 2020.

RIBEIRO, Nivaldo Calixto; SILVEIRA, Lúcia da; SANTOS, Sarah Rúbia de Oliveira. Taxonomia da Ciência Aberta. [Traduzido e adaptado de] Pontika et al. (2015). Título original: Open Science Taxonomy.

ROSS-HELLAUER, T., REICHMANN, S., COLE, N. L., FESSL, A., KLEBEL, T., & PONTIKA, N. Dynamics of Cumulative Advantage and Threats to Equity in Open Science - A Scoping Review. Jul. 2021. DOI:

SILVEIRA, L. da; RIBEIRO, N. C. .; SANTOS, S. R. de O. .; SILVA, F. M. de A. .; SILVA, F. C. C. da; CAREGNATO, S. E. .; OLIVEIRA, A. C. S. de .; OLIVEIRA, D. A. .; GARCIA , J. C. R. .; ARAÚJO, R. F. . Ciência aberta na perspectiva de especialistas brasileiros: proposta de taxonomia. Encontros Bibli: revista eletrônica de biblioteconomia e ciência da informação, [S. l.], v. 26, p. 1-27, 2021. DOI: 10.5007/1518-2924.2021.e79646. Disponível em: Acesso em: 7 dez. 2021.


Ribeiro, Silveira e Santos (2020) e Silveira et al. (2021)


How to cite

PONTIKA, N. Nancy Pontika and the seminal Open Science Taxonomy . [interview given to]

Nivaldo Calixto Ribeiro. Ciência da Informação Express, [S. l.], v. 2, n. 12, 15 dez. 2021.



Our sincere thanks to Nancy Pontika for kindly answering the questions in this brief interview.



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