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Introducing the Open Science Indicator Handbook

14 November 2023

One of the key outputs of PathOS is the creation of an Open Science (OS) Indicator Handbook. Today, we are proud to launch the first draft edition of the OS Indicator Handbook. Instead of creating a book that nobody reads or can find anything in, we created a user-friendly and easy to navigate website at

The OS Indicator Handbook not only covers various aspects of measuring Open Science itself, but also delves into reproducibility and impact. If an indicator can be readily operationalised, we aim to provide ready-to-go recipes to support its implementation. Even if an indicator cannot yet be easily operationalised, we might include it in the handbook, if we deem it sufficiently relevant for Open Science.

In PathOS we adopt a causal approach, and we adopt the same approach in drafting this handbook. 

A key challenge is to distinguish the impact of Open Science from the effect that making something Open has on that impact. For example, an Open Source tool might be released Open Source and show substantial uptake by industry. This tool might then be said to have some economic impact. However, it is not evident how this impact is affected by the tool being Open Source. Possibly, the tool might have had a similar uptake by industry if it would not be released Open Source.  It is indeed often quite challenging to estimate the causal effect of making something Open. In this OS Indicator Handbook, we plan to address this challenge and avoid suggesting indicators for the causal effects of Open Science. We will include a chapter on some of these key issues around causality that we hope researchers will be able to benefit from and build on.

This first draft edition of the OS Indicator Handbook covers indicators about Open Science and reproducibility, and we are planning to add indicators on academic, societal and economic impact later on and throughout the lifespan of the project.  

Most importantly, the OS Indicator Handbook is open and will remain open to community contributions. The PathOS project will continue to contribute to the handbook in the near and distant future, but it takes a community to build it into a resource that continues to be useful and relevant.

Contributions can be made directly in the GitHub repository by opening an issue via this link: Alternatively, you can simply click the "Edit this page" button at any page of, which takes you directly to the right page in the GitHub repository to propose corrections or improvements.

Do you have suggestions or comments for the first version of the OS Indicator Handbook? Open a discussion directly here

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