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Open science saves lives: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

Lonni Besançon, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow | Monash University, Australia and Linköping University, Sweden

Lonni Besançon is a postdoctoral fellow at Monash University, Australia. He received his PhD in computer science at University Paris Saclay, France. His thesis “An interaction continuum for 3D dataset visualization” received the second price of the prix de these GDR-IGRV. He is particularly interested in interactive visualization techniques for 3D spatial data relying on new input paradigms and his recent work focuses on the visualization and understanding of uncertainty in empirical results in computer science.

About the talk

In the last decade Open Science principles have been successfully advocated for and are being slowly adopted in different research communities. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic many publishers and researchers have sped up their adoption of Open Science practices, sometimes embracing them fully and sometimes partially or in a sub-optimal manner. In this article, we express concerns about the violation of some of the Open Science principles and its potential impact on the quality of research output. We provide evidence of the misuses of these principles at different stages of the scientific process. We call for a wider adoption of Open Science practices in the hope that this work will encourage a broader endorsement of Open Science principles and serve as a reminder that science should always be a rigorous process, reliable and transparent, especially in the context of a pandemic where research findings are being translated into practice even more rapidly.

Resources and suggestions for further reading

Besançon, L., Peiffer-Smadja, N., Segalas, C., Jiang, H., Masuzzo, P., Smout, C. A., … & Leyrat, C. (2020). Open science saves lives: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Arguments against open science that you can win

Malvika Sharan, PhD
Community Manager | The Alan Turing Institute, The Turing Way Project, UK

Malvika Sharan is the community manager of The Turing Way at The Alan Turing Institute. The Turing Way is an open-source and collaborative book project and Malvika works with its diverse community of researchers, educators, funders and other stakeholders to develop resources and ways to make data science reproducible, ethical, collaborative and inclusive for a wider community. After receiving her PhD in Bioinformatics, she worked at European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Germany, as a community coordinator that helped her solidify her values as an open researcher and community builder. She is a co-founder of the Open Life Science mentoring and training program that teaches and mentors researchers from all around the world to design, lead and sustain open science projects. She is a fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute, and a board member of Open Bioinformatics Foundation, where she focuses on training resources and fellowship programs to enhance the representation of marginalised groups in data science and bioinformatics.

About the talk

Open science invites all researchers to share their work, data, and research components openly so that others can read, reuse, reproduce, build upon and share them. Particularly in computational research and software development projects, open source principles are promoted as good practices. However, it is important to acknowledge that open science practices, communities and culture possess inherent systemic barriers that exist in science at large. Furthermore, applying open and inclusive methods to all our (research) work requires time, intention, resources and collaboration, which can be overwhelming, and in some cases impossible, for many. Therefore, if you are building an open science community and care about inclusiveness and accessibility like me, you might want to be prepared to respond to the arguments that may come up when advocating for open science. In my talk, I will share a few common arguments that I have come across (and experienced first hand) and what we as open science practitioners can do while committing to being an ally and make our workplace and communities more inclusive.

Resources and suggestions for further reading

Sharan, M. (2020). Ten arguments against open science that you can win.


Navigating open science as early career feminist researchers

Madeleine Pownall
PhD Student | University of Leeds, UK

Madeleine Pownall is a PhD student in social psychology and a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant at the School of Psychology, University of Leeds. Madeleine is broadly interested in gender stereotyping, stigma, open science, and psychology pedagogy.

Catherine Talbot, PhD
Lecturer | Bournemouth University, UK

Dr Catherine Talbot is a cyberpsychologist and Lecturer in psychology at Bournemouth University. She is an expert in social media, digital selfhood and young-onset dementia. Her research uses qualitative methods to investigate how technologies can be developed to promote wellbeing and social inclusion.

Anna Henschel, PhD
Gender in Medicine Institute, Charité Universitätsmedizin, Germany

Dr Anna Henschel (@AnnaHenschel) is a researcher and freelance science writer interested in technology, the future and how equality and diversity factor into these topics. Before completing her doctorate at the University of Glasgow, she obtained a Master’s degree in neuropsychology at VU University Amsterdam and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Konstanz. At the moment she is working as a scientist at the Gender in Medicine Institute (Charité, Berlin). 

Kelly Lloyd
PhD Student | University of Leeds, UK

Kelly Lloyd is a PhD student at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, examining decision-making in cancer preventive therapy. She is a keen advocate for open research practices, is a steering group member for the Declaration to Improve Health Research, and is the lead organiser of the ReproducibiliTea journal club at the University of Leeds.

Helena Hartman
PhD Student | University of Vienna, Austria

Helena Hartmann is a psychologist currently obtaining her PhD at the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit in Vienna, Austria. Her research focuses on the behavioural and neural mechanisms underlying shared representations between first-hand and empathy for pain as well as the relationship between empathy and prosocial behaviour.

Kohinoor Darda, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher | University of Glasgow, UK

Kohinoor Darda is a postdoc at the University of Glasgow, and Macquarie University, Sydney, investigating social interactions, experience-dependent plasticity, and neural mechanisms underlying art experience. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion in science and is an Indian classical dancer who loves integrating science and dance in both her scientific and choreographic endeavours.

Karen Tang
PhD Student | Dalhousie University, Canada

Karen Tang is a PhD Student in Clinical Psychology at Dalhousie University, studying the association between addictive disorders, mental health, and sociocultural factors. She also has an interest in integrating open science practices in the field of addiction psychology.

Parise Carmichael-Murphy
PhD Student | University of Manchester, UK

Parise is a PhD student and Research Assistant in Education. She is interested in Black feminism, childhood, education policy, and anti-racist pedagogy. Her thesis seeks to understand the social determinants of adolescent boys’ mental health and wellbeing in education

Alexandra Lautarescu
PhD Student | King’s College London, UK

Alexandra is a PhD Student based in the Department of Perinatal Imaging and Health at St Thomas’ Hospital. She earned a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Exeter in 2011, followed by an MPhil in Medical Sciences (Psychiatry) from the University of Cambridge. Her current research focuses on maternal mental health during pregnancy and its relationship with fetal and neonatal brain development, as part of the Developing Human Connectome Project. She is the KCL Local Network Lead for the UK Reproducibility Network,  a co-founder of the Postdocalypse Podcast and the Open Research Calendar, and a co-organiser of the RIOT Science Club at King’s College London.

Jaclyn Siegel
PhD Student | Western University, Canada

Jaclyn Siegel is a PhD candidate in Social Psychology at Western University. Her research focuses on feminist identity and attitudes, sexual and self-objectification, stigma, power, and body image. She is presently the lead editor for a special issue of Psychology of Women Quarterly on Feminist Psychology and Open Science.

About the talk

Open science aims to improve the rigour, robustness, and reproducibility of psychological research. Despite resistance from some academics, the open science movement has been championed by some Early Career Researchers (ECRs), who have proposed innovative new tools and methods to promote and employ open research principles. Feminist ECRs have much to contribute to this emerging way of doing research. However, they face unique barriers, which may prohibit their full engagement with the open science movement. We, ten feminist ECRs in psychology, from a diverse range of academic and personal backgrounds, explore open science through a feminist lens, to consider how voice and power may be negotiated in unique ways for ECRs. Taking a critical and intersectional approach, we discuss how feminist early career research may be complemented or challenged by shifts towards open science. We also propose how ECRs can act as grassroots changemakers within the context of academic precarity. We identify ways in which open science can benefit from feminist epistemology and end with six practical recommendations for feminist ECRs who wish to engage with open science practices in their own research.

Resources and suggestions for further reading

Pownall, M., Talbot, C. V., Henschel, A., Lautarescu, A., Lloyd, K., Hartmann, H., … & Siegel, J. A. (2020). Navigating open science as early career feminist researchers.


Open science for and with communities

Leslie Chan, PhD
Associate Professor | University of Toronto, Canada

Leslie is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the director of the Knowledge Equity Lab. Leslie’s teaching and professional interests center on the geopolitics of knowledge production and circulation, with a focus on how networking technologies are enabling new forms of collaborations, while also amplifying and reproducing embedded power relations and inequality. In particular, Leslie has been exploring the dynamics of university-community partnership and the patterns of meanings around knowledge co-creation, participatory research, and how community-engaged modes of knowledge production could contribute to different frameworks of research impact assessment. Since 2000, Leslie has served as the director of Bioline International, an open access platform for scientific journals from the global south.

About the talk

Debates about the how and why of Open Science have tended to focus on the technicality, standards, and conditions about what is and what isn’t “open”.  More importantly, the guidelines and principles on open science that have been proliferating are centered on largely Western and Global North perspectives. The more crucial questions of by whom and for whom should science be open, and who has the power to set the agenda of open science are often not addressed. In this talk, I like to highlight some of the values and benefits of openness to knowledges and ways of knowing from communities and knowledge makers who have been historically excluded from “main-stream science.” I like to share ideas on how a pluriversal open science commons based on epistemic justice principles and solidarity, drawn from Indigenous and other knowledge traditions, can be sustained and governed by communities and for communities in various contexts.

Resources and suggestions for further reading

Chan, L., Hall, B., Piron, F., Tandon, R., & Williams, L. (2020). Open science beyond open access: For and with communities.

Various publications on open science.


Open scholarship in the Global South

Sandersan Onie, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow | Black Dog Institute & University of New South Wales, Australia

Dr Sandersan Onie is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Black Dog Institute in mental health and suicide prevention, overseeing projects across Asia Pacific. His work includes using Google Ads as a suicide prevention initiative, writing a book for peer support geared towards countries with inadequate mental health resources, as well as developing a national suicide prevention strategy for Indonesia. His work – especially pertaining to mental health in Indonesia – has been extensively covered in outlets such as Forbes, CNN, and ABC. He is also passionate about building open science practices in the Global South, which includes leading invited science policy briefs for the Indonesian government, being a part of the executive committee of the Society for Improvement of Psychological Science and penning a Nature comment on building open science in the Global South.  

About the talk

Recent advancements in science have led to strides in improving the transparency, credibility, and quality of scientific output. However, much of the focus and activity has occurred in the Global North despite only comprising 20% of the global population. Further, researchers in the Global South face myriad challenges, despite being best positioned to take on critical problems in their regions. Therefore, I argue for science to have its full impact, we must work together to empower researchers across the globe – and not just a small subset.  In this talk, I discuss the state, challenges, and opportunities for Open Science in the Global South – a critical component to ensuring the work produced there is usable for decision making and policy. Specifically, I discuss recent developments in government policy and ranking systems which often prioritize quantity over quality, the history of research and how it has led to universities being equipped for education but not knowledge generation, as well as how stakeholders in the Global North and Global South can work together to address many of these challenges and design a research system that is transparent, credible, and useful for all.

Resources and suggestions for further reading

Onie, S. (2020). Redesign open science for Asia, Africa and Latin America.         


Stop talking about “diversity” in open science

Moin Syed, PhD
Associate Professor | University of Minnesota, USA

Moin Syed is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His research is broadly concerned with identity and personality development among ethnically and culturally diverse adolescents and emerging adults. Dr Syed has conducted numerous workshops on methods, open science, preregistration, and theory development across the U.S. and Europe, and has edited multiple special issues of journals focusing on Registered Reports, a new publication format that prioritizes study conceptualization and design over findings in order to combat publication bias. He is currently the Editor of Infant and Child Development.

About the talk

There have been scattered comments and discussions of the need to consider “diversity” within the open science movement. But what does this mean, and why is it important? This presentation outlines some reasons for why the open science movement, if it is to be a successful structural reform movement within the field, must move away from broad and diffuse discussions of “diversity” and towards greater specificity. In particular, we must understand how diversity of researchers, samples, and perspectives are distinct, yet interrelated, dimensions that should all be at the core of the movement.

Resources and suggestions for further reading

Syed, M., & Kathawalla, U. K. (in press). Cultural psychology, diversity, and representation in open science.

Kathawalla, U. K., Silverstein, P., & Syed, M. (2021). Easing into open science: A guide for graduate students and their advisors.

Syed, M. (2019). The Open Science Movement is for all of us.


How senior academics can support reproducible and open research

Elisabet Blok
PhD Student | Erasmus Medical Center, The Netherlands

Elisabet is a PhD Student working within the Generation R Study group at Erasmus Medical Centre. She received a BSc in Medicine at Erasmus Medical Centre in 2017. Her research focuses on the brain development of children with combined symptoms of depression, anxiety, aggression, and attention problems known as emotion dysregulation. She co-organise the Rotterdam RIOT Science Club meetings at Erasmus Medical Centre.

Olivia Kowalczyk
PhD Student | King’s College London, UK

Olivia is a PhD Student in the Neuroimaging Department at the IoPPN, King’s College London. She earned a BSc in Psychology from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2016. In the same year, she joined King’s College London, first as a Research Assistant and then as a PhD Student. While her current research focuses on pharmacological modulation of brain function in ADHD, her interests span across various disciplines of psychiatry, neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, and meta-research. She co-organises the RIOT Science Club at King’s College London.

Alexandra Lautarescu
PhD Student | King’s College London, UK

Alexandra is a PhD Student based in the Department of Perinatal Imaging and Health at St Thomas’ Hospital. She earned a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Exeter in 2011, followed by an MPhil in Medical Sciences (Psychiatry) from the University of Cambridge. Her current research focuses on maternal mental health during pregnancy and its relationship with fetal and neonatal brain development, as part of the Developing Human Connectome Project. She is the KCL Local Network Lead for the UK Reproducibility Network,  a co-founder of the Postdocalypse Podcast and the Open Research Calendar, and a co-organiser of the RIOT Science Club at King’s College London.

Lorenza Dall’Aglio
PhD Student | Erasmus Medical Center, The Netherlands

Lorenza is a PhD Fellow at Erasmus Medical Centre investigating the neurobiology of depression and anxiety in childhood and adolescence, aiming to characterise trajectories of development. Additionally, she co-lead the Rotterdam site of the R.I.O.T. Science Club, an international grassroots initiative providing training on open research. She has a background in psychology (Erasmus University Rotterdam), behavioural genetics (King’s College London), and epidemiology (Netherlands Institute of Health Sciences). 

Samuel Westwood, PhD
Lecturer | University of Wolverhampton, UK

Sam was awarded a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from Aston University, Birmingham in 2018. He joined King’s College London in 2017 as a post-doctoral Research Associate in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department investigating the effectiveness of combining cognitive training and non-invasive brain stimulation in improving inattention and self-control in boys with ADHD. In 2020 he became a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Wolverhampton. Although still interested in neuromodulation, he has developed a small obsession with all things to do with reproducibility, transparency, and the betterment of research culture for everyone. He is also the founder of the RIOT Science Club.

About the talk

Increasingly, policies are being introduced to reward and recognise open research practices, while the adoption of such practices into research routines is being facilitated by many grassroots initiatives. However, despite this widespread endorsement and support, open research is yet to be widely adopted, with early career researchers being the notable exception. For open research to become the norm, initiatives should engage academics from all career stages, particularly senior academics (namely senior lecturers, readers, professors) given their routine involvement in determining the quality of research. Senior academics, however, face unique challenges in implementing policy change and supporting grassroots initiatives. Given that – like all researchers – senior academics are in part motivated by self-interest, this paper lays out three feasible steps that senior academics can take to improve the quality and productivity of their research, that also serve to engender open research. These steps include a) change hiring criteria, b) change how scholarly outputs are credited, and c) change to funding and publishing with open research. The guidance we provide is accompanied by live, crowd-sourced material for further reading.

Resources and suggestions for further reading

Kowalczyk, O., Lautarescu, A., Blok, E., Dall’Aglio, L., & Westwood, S. (2020). What senior academics can do to support reproducible and open research: a short, three-step guide.    


Roundtable discussion

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