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GEM Highlights Open Science Benefits and Challenges at OECD Forum


Apr 23, 2024

Apr 23, 2024

Photo credit: Gemma Volpicelli

GEM Highlights Open Science Benefits and Challenges at OECD Forum

Paris, France - April 23, 2024 - The Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation underlined the importance of open science collaboration and future directions at the 50th meeting of the OECD Global Science Forum (GSF) this week, a key platform for discussing international scientific collaboration on global challenges. John Schneider, Senior Advisor at GEM, participated in two key discussions, the evolution of international scientific collaboration on April 22nd, and the importance of Open Science for societal benefit on April 23rd.

Shifting Landscape of Collaboration

A roundtable discussion at the GSF on April 22nd, focused on research infrastructures and their evolution over time, featured John alongside former GSF chairs. 

“GEM's experience over the past 15 years exemplifies a significant shift," John noted. "The private sector is actively collaborating and increasingly values open frameworks," he said. This shift reinforces collaboration between public and private entities on resolving common challenges for the public good. 

John presented the history of GEM as a public-private partnership and non-profit foundation, conceived at one of the OECD GSF workshops in 2004. He presented the importance of its collaboration framework and open approach, and the issues GEM faces in operating in an open framework. 

Underscoring GEM's contribution, Jerry Sheehan, Director of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, highlighted it as a success story during the 50th meeting closing summary. This was an excellent acknowledgment of the value of the GSF's work in fostering collaborative research infrastructures.

Open Science: Benefits and Actions Needed

In a separate Multi-Stakeholder High-Level Dialogue on Open Science on April 23rd, John presented GEM's work in open science, using the OpenQuake Engine, an open-source software for earthquake hazard and risk assessment, as a prime example of successful Open Science practices. 

"OpenQuake has been essential to developing a shared understanding of earthquake hazard and risk across complex and multi-disciplinary fields," he highlighted.

The benefits extend beyond technical aspects including fostering the development of local capabilities to assess earthquake risk, strengthening trust in scientific results, and facilitating risk reduction actions. At the same time, challenges include balancing the availability of free and open data and information with the need to have sustained financial support for the organisation, and developing better legal frameworks and communication surrounding data sharing is needed to encourage more participation in open science.

The Multi-Stakeholder High-Level Dialogue on Open Science is part of a larger discussion to strengthen international scientific collaboration. This forum, convened during a meeting of Science and Technology Ministers from around the world, addressed challenges and opportunities for the future of science and international scientific collaboration. Open science, along with other themes like biodiversity, climate change, artificial intelligence, and engaging communities in science, were key topics of discussion.

Moving Forward with Open Science

John underscored the need for concrete actions to promote Open Science. "We need to provide scientists and legal professionals with better tools and resources to understand and implement open licensing," he said. Developing clear guidelines and promoting successful Open Science projects were also highlighted as ways to encourage broader adoption. 

Finally, John called for a shift in scientific reward systems, placing greater value on the development and maintenance of open software and data alongside traditional publications.

The GEM Foundation sees continued collaboration and open data sharing as essential for advancing earthquake risk assessment. GEM's open data-sharing initiatives have allowed researchers and policymakers around the world to access critical earthquake hazard and risk information. This has facilitated the development of more accurate seismic hazard maps, improved building codes, and enhanced disaster preparedness measures in earthquake-prone regions. By making this data openly available, GEM has played a crucial role in enabling local scientists and researchers and collaborating with communities to better understand and mitigate earthquake risk, ultimately saving lives.

Stay tuned for the event recording. To learn more, please visit or email

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Photo credit: OECD



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