14 core skills & competencies for an Open Science leader

Fishes Leadership Concept on ChalkboardI have been involved in an Open Knowledge Leaders Program for part of this year run by Open Knowledge International, and led by Rufus Pollock and Irina Bolychevsky.

Over 20 participants from across the world came together physically and online to grow leadership skills to be able to advocate the cause for Open change for a more Open society in the areas of public sector information, education, culture, research and software.

The list below is based on a survey I conducted in the group into leadership skills and natural strengths and weaknesses amongst Open leaders. This list is by no means complete, and you might not even agree with all elements.
I have yet to meet a person who has the gift of owning all skills and competencies.

This list might be worth exploring with your Open Access and Science teams to see where your strengths lie and where further development might get you even more results.

  1. Influencing skills
  2. Being able to empower others
  3. Being entrepreneurial
  4. Creating visions and missions
  5. Conveying visions and missions
  6. Being able to source facts & figures
  7. Networking skills
  8. Communication skills

    1. Expressing oneself clearly and succinctly
    2. Listening skills
    3. Presentation skills (general)
    4. Story-telling
  9.  Managing people

    1. Collaborative skills
    2. Balancing one’s own emotions
    3. Reading people / calibration
    4. Having empathy with others
    5. Being culturally sensitive
    6. Managing conflict
  10. Programme / project management

    1. Getting things done
    2. Being able to identify risks and opportunities
    3. Managing performance
  11. Technical skills (basic) related to TDM or data
  12. Managing finances, incl. funding
  13. Understanding and addressing sustainability
  14. Knowledge of the workings of the scholarly workflow, e.g. Open Access, Open Data, Open software, knowledge of various publishing choices (from working papers, e-notebooks to article or books), funding models, and platforms in ideally a range of disciplines; licensing and collection management; quality management and mechanisms such as (open) peer review; IPR, CC and licensing; the role of scholarly communication in academic integrity; and knowledge of research evaluation systems. Lastly, knowledge of innovative initiatives that challenge current practices


What are the other skills and competencies that you find are essential for an Open Science leader? Please share below if you have anything to add.


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