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Peering into the mind of our Neuroimaging Collection Editor, Jonathan Peelle

Peering into the mind of our Neuroimaging Collection Editor, Jonathan Peelle

This year in our Open Science Stars series, we’ve heard from researchers in Europe and Asia and their experiences of the publishing world, as well as from funders like the Gates Foundation. Today, we’ve interviewed Jonathan Peelle, a cognitive psychologist working in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University in Saint Louis. Jonathan recently built a collection on Neuroimaging Methods (ways to look inside your brain..), at ScienceOpen, so we decided it would be nice to turn the tables and pick his brain instead to learn about his research background and interests in open science!

  1. Hi Jonathan! Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a bit about your research interests?

My research is focused on the neuroscience of language processing, and how sensory and cognitive systems interact to enable communication. We are interested in questions like:

  • How can we understand people we’ve never heard before?
  • Why is having a conversation in noise harder for some people than for others?
  • How similar is brain activity across a group of people?

My lab spends a lot of time studying people with hearing loss and cochlear implants because of the profound effects these have on sensory processing. We rely on converging evidence from behavioral studies, structural MRI, and functional neuroimaging.

MRI scan of human head in a patient with benign familial macrocephaly (Source)

Continue reading “Peering into the mind of our Neuroimaging Collection Editor, Jonathan Peelle”  

Ashley Farley of the Gates Foundation: “Knowledge should be a public good.”

Hi Ashley, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

Certainly! I began college aiming for a Zoology degree while working at the University’s library. My love for information grew in proportion to my struggle for mastering Physics and Organic Chemistry. My senior year I transferred disciplines and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) focused on Library and Information Science. For the next decade, I worked in both public and academic libraries and began pursuing my Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Washington (to be completed this summer. Yay!) Now I have found myself submersed in the realm of scientific knowledge and research dissemination. I find this to be a perfect way to combine all my passions – science, knowledge, and service to others.

Credit: Ashley Farley

When did you first hear about open access and open science? What were your initial thoughts?

The first time I heard about these topics was while interning at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the Knowledge and Research Services department. My initial thought was “How have I not heard of this before?!”. Having worked in libraries for many years I was familiar with the serials crisis and the importance of research, but I had not been introduced to the Open Access movement. Then I thought, “Of course Open Access should be the norm!”. Knowledge should be a public good.

“Of course Open Access should be the norm!”. Knowledge should be a public good.

What’s it like working for the Gates Foundation? How much of your time do you spend working on ‘open’ related things?

I really love working for the Gates Foundation – it’s providing me with the opportunity, each day, to work towards a greater good. A message that is posted throughout the foundation is “All Lives Have Equal Value” and I take this to heart. This is the first institution where I have been employed to embrace innovation and move initiatives forward fairly quickly. One of our tenets is that we will take risks that others can’t or won’t and I’m proud of this. Currently, I spend about 90% of my time on Open Access. This encompasses internal and external communications, advocacy of our policy, and working with our grantees to make their research open access. We’ve recently joined the newly launched Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) to work with other research funders worldwide to adopt mandates like ours. Together we can create a funding environment where Open Access or even Open Science is the norm. I am beginning to see the impact that my work has on the scientific community and it’s very exciting. We have other partnerships in the works that will be announced soon to continue to support the Open Access movement.

Continue reading “Ashley Farley of the Gates Foundation: “Knowledge should be a public good.””  

Gautam Dey, UCL’s Cell Biology rockstar: Publish your cake, and eat it.

Hi Gautam! Thanks for joining us here. Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

Hi Jon, thanks for having me here!

Credit: Gautam Dey

I’m a postdoc in Buzz Baum’s lab at UCL working on the evolution of cell division- all the way from Archaea to unicellular eukaryotes. I found myself in London in mid-2015 after a bit of continent-hopping that included a stint as a cell-biologist-in-training at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore and a PhD in Systems Biology at Stanford University.

When did you first hear about open access and open science? What were your initial thoughts?

Back in 2005, when I was an undergraduate in India without proper library access. PLOS and PMC came to the rescue! At the time paywalls were a very real and practical hindrance, but I must confess I didn’t think much about the actual ethics of publishing until well into my PhD.

As a postdoc in the UK, how do you feel about recent policy changes around Open Access?

I think the UK is making some positive moves, such as requiring Open Access for compliance with the Research Evaluation Framework. Funding agencies like the BBSRC and Wellcome Trust defray the costs of “gold” Open Access for published research supported by their grants. However, in the absence of accompanying reforms in the publishing industry or revised evaluation criteria for scientists, many of these policy changes will simply funnel more taxpayer money towards established scientific journals, providing more of a stopgap than a long-term solution.

I must confess I didn’t think much about the actual ethics of publishing until well into my PhD

Continue reading “Gautam Dey, UCL’s Cell Biology rockstar: Publish your cake, and eat it.”  

Open Access and language barriers in China

We finished an amazing year at ScienceOpen by celebrating our Open Science Stars, people truly working to make research a better place from around the globe and who we can all learn from. The principle behind the series is this:

Only by listening to and understanding truly diverse voices can we gain a deeper appreciation of the issues surrounding Open Science. By taking on board what others have to say and learning from them, we strengthen ourselves and the community, and understand how to put things into practice more easily.

A new year means a new chance for us all to do the best that we can for ourselves, for research, and for broader aspects of society. So we’re not stopping, and continuing to showcase some of the best researchers from around the world and how they’re working to make a difference. We’re starting the 2017 series with Mr. Wang Dapeng, an Assistant Researcher at the China Research Institute for Science Popularization.

When did you first realise you wanted to get into academia and the world of scholarly publishing? What was it that turned you?
8 years ago, I came to my present organisation, which is an institute dedicated to science communication research, and that was my first time to deal with science research. However, I worked at the administrative office, which is where I began to read some academic papers about science communication.  However, according to the evaluation system, we need to write and publish papers, so I realized that I need not only be familiar with academia, but enter the field by doing research and publishing papers. Furthermore, publishing research papers was another way of being noticed by the peers in your field.

Mr. Wang Dapeng

Continue reading “Open Access and language barriers in China”  

People making a difference in 2016: Open Science Stars

Happy Holidays from ScienceOpen!

As our thank you to all of our wonderful members and users, this year we have decided to give you a special gift. We’ve taken each of the individual interviews from our Open Science Stars series, which documents a range of experiences and perspectives into the world of Open Science, and assembled them here for you in one collection to download here: OPEN SCIENCE STARS. Only by listening to and understanding truly diverse voices can we gain a deeper appreciation of the issues surrounding Open Science. By taking on board what others have to say and learning from them, we strengthen ourselves and the community, and understand how to put things into practice more easily.

Kind regards,

The ScienceOpen team

Download: OPEN SCIENCE STARS

Prof. Kamel Belhamel: “For the global south, Open Access is an opportunity in terms of innovation, the diffusion of knowledge and the emergence of new ideas.”

Continuing the highly successful Open Science Stars series, this round we’re honoured to bring you Prof. Kamel Belhamel, the recently appointed DOAJ Ambassador for North Africa. Here’s his story.

Hi Kamel, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

Thank you for interviewing me Jon and congratulations on receiving your hard-earned doctoral degree. Best wishes for the future. (Ed: Thank you!! 🙂)

Image credit: Kamel Belhamel
Image credit: Kamel Belhamel

I am Kamel Belhamel, full Professor of Chemistry at the University of Bejaia, director of the Laboratory of Organic Materials and Editor in chief of Algerian Journal of Natural Products (E-ISSN: 2353-0391). I graduated in Chemistry at the University of Setif- Algeria and achieved my PhD at the same University in the field of Process Engineering and Chemistry of Materials. I have taken part to several international projects such as: Italian project, German – DAAD, French- Algerian framework programme CMEP and co-ordinator of several Algerian national research projects, CNEPRU, PNR). My scientific activity is focused on the chemistry of macrocycles; Solvent extraction of metal ions from ores and waste solutions; Extraction and study of chemical composition from plant extract; Electrodeposition of metals and alloys. I am author/co-author of 20 scientific papers in international scientific journals and more than 50 abstract books in national and international conferences. I was Supervisor of many Master’s and 11 PhD students. I am a member of the Scientific Committee of the Faculty of Technology, the Algerian Chemical Society, and Training Manager of Master of Science: pharmaceutical processes at the University of Bejaia. Recently, I was appointed as the DOAJ Ambassador for North Africa.

When did you first hear about open access/data/science? What were your initial thoughts?

I have heard about open access journals during my first scientific visit to Freie Universität, Berlin in 2000. When I selected an open access journal, Molecules, and edited by MDPI, in order to publish our research results, my friend, Prof. Rainer Ludwig, has refused to publish in this journal because, in this period it hadn’t obtained an impact factor and asked for high APCs (article-processing charges). One important element to keep in mind when discussing Open science, that this concept is very old. By the 12th century, Bejaia, my city was an important port and an open centre of science in the North Africa. The Italian mathematician Fibonacci (c. 1170 – c. 1250) has studied Arabic numerals and algebraic notation in Bejaia. He introduced these and modern mathematics into medieval Europe in his famous book Liber Abaci. Another influential North African Muslim thinker of the 14th century, Ibn Khaldun, has been extensively studied in the Western world with special interest. He has written a part of his famous Muqaddimah “Introduction” in Bejaia. This document, summarize his theories of the science of sociology, was the greatest legacy that he freely offered for all of humanity and the generations to come.

 

The bust of Ibn Khaldun  and the entrance door of the Casbah of Bejaia (built in 1154, place of learning for Ibn Khaldun , Fibonacci and other scientists). Image credit: Kamel Belhamel
The bust of Ibn Khaldun and the entrance door of the Casbah of Bejaia (built in 1154, place of learning for Ibn Khaldun , Fibonacci and other scientists). Image credit: Kamel Belhamel

You recently were appointed as the DOAJ Ambassador for North Africa – congratulations! What sort of activities does this role entail? Continue reading “Prof. Kamel Belhamel: “For the global south, Open Access is an opportunity in terms of innovation, the diffusion of knowledge and the emergence of new ideas.””  

Bastian Greshake – “At least no one is seriously using MatLab”

The latest Open Science Stars interview couldn’t be better timed, as I’m sitting here with the interviewee, Bastian Greshake at OpenCon in Washington DC! Let’s get right to it!

Hi Bastian, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

Sure! Right now I’m working on my PhD in bioinformatics at the University of Frankfurt, the city in the middle of Germany that is famous for having a more or less working airport. Before I transferred into being an armchair/standing desk biologist I did a Master’s degree in Ecology & Evolution. Much of my, maybe let’s say “traditional”, research is about how evolution has shaped the genomes of the funny living things around us. And then there’s the whole open* shebang, which we’ll probably talk about later.

Source
Source

When did you first hear about open access/data/science? What were your initial thoughts?

I’m not really sure whether it was before or during my undergrad studies. I was certainly experimenting with open source software since I was 15 or so. For the open access-part I at least vividly remember one of the computational biology nerds sporting an open access-shirt, so I guess that way of advertising works. In any case, in my naivety I was puzzled and shocked that open science and science aren’t the same thing yet (c.f. this), as I would have assumed that academics would be progressive, being on the frontier of knowledge and all (boy, was I wrong!).

What is the state of ‘open science’ in the field of bioinformatics? Do you think it’s progressing faster or more frustratingly slower than other fields?

Bioinformatics is a pretty huge field, so I don’t really dare to speak for all of it. But at least for the part that I’m meddling in I think we’re doing a pretty good job open science-wise. Much of the data people generate is ending up in open repositories, virtually everything is programmed in open source programming languages and much of the written code ends up being open sourced as well. And there are some decent open access journals, with pre-prints becoming more and more accepted as well. Of course, it’s not perfect yet. Many people still seem to have a hard time to resist the siren song of Nature/Science publications and unfortunately it’s also the case that people still use and publish closed source and commercial software for their analysis. But hey, at least no one is seriously using Matlab.

Many people still seem to have a hard time to resist the siren song of Nature/Science

Continue reading “Bastian Greshake – “At least no one is seriously using MatLab””  

“It’s so very broken.” Rachael Dunlop on the state of scholarly communications

Continuing the awesome Open Science Stars series, we spoke with Dr. Rachael Dunlop about her thoughts on scholarly communications. Rachael is such an awesome scientist, she has her own Wikipedia page!

Hi Rachael! Thanks for joining us here. Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

dr_rachie_qed2013
Rachael Dunlop at QED 2013 in Manchester UK. CC BY SA 3.0 (Source)

I was a late starter in science, having worked in graphic design and advertising as my first career. I went to uni aged 26 to get a science degree and emerged 8 years later with a PhD in Cell Biology. I originally planned to become a Virologist but my Microbiology lecturer was so awful, I switched to Toxicology. Funnily enough, I’d never done any Biology in high school so in first year uni, I had to borrow my sister’s year 12 text books to teach myself the basics of Biology – and now I’m a Biologist.

When did you first hear about open access and open science? What were your initial thoughts?

I can’t really recall but it would have been around the time I first started publishing and became aware that if you paid an exorbitant fee, then people could read your papers for free. Of course, researchers never ever have a spare USD3000 to throw around on publishing so it just always seemed out of my reach. It’s a great idea if you can afford it. As for open science, ideas are currency in research so there was never any discussion about participating in an open system.

Continue reading ““It’s so very broken.” Rachael Dunlop on the state of scholarly communications”  

How to start an Open Science revolution! An interview with patient advocate, Graham Steel.

Continuing our Open Science Stars interview series, today we’re happy to bring to you Graham Steel, a relentless campaigner for all things Open!

Hi Graham, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

For 25 years, my background (as in day job) was dealing with insurance claims for various insurers, legal firms and service providers. In my spare time as of around 2001, I became involved in research/science outreach and as of now, I would class myself as an open science enthusiast. From Jan 2015 – August 2016, I acted as Community Manager (then Social Media Manager) for ContentMine.

When did you first hear about open access/data/science? What were your initial thoughts?

In order, I first heard about open access late 2006, open science the following year and then open data. My initial thoughts were that all these entities were much needed and refreshing alternatives to all that I had seen or read about such topics up until then, i.e., closed access, prohibitive paywalls, “data not shown” etc.

You’re what some people call a ‘Patient Advocate’ – what is that, and what’s the story there?

The terms Patient Advocate and Patient Advocacy broadly speaking can mean a number of things. By definition, “Patient advocacy is an area of lay specialization in health care concerned with advocacy for patients, survivors, and carers”. For myself personally, this began in 2001 and mainly concerned bereaved relatives and then patients and their family members. See here for further details.

You relentlessly campaign for various aspects of open science – what drives you in this?

My means of background, I would say with certainty that during the period of around 2008 – 2011, the (sadly now deceased) social media aggregator site Friendfeed was the space in which the foundations for a lot of my current thinking were set out. Prior to that, having already been primed with open access and open data, that’s pretty much where open science really took off in earnest. Science and indeed research in the open is without question the way forward for all.

Science and indeed research in the open is without question the way forward for all.

Continue reading “How to start an Open Science revolution! An interview with patient advocate, Graham Steel.”  

The state of Open in Algeria: an in-depth view with Samir Hachani

The Open Science Stars series is an ongoing quest to bring different experiences and perspectives on the world of open science from around the world together. Only by listening to truly diverse voices can we gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding open science.

Today, we’re honoured to bring you the voice of Samir Hachani, an Algerian researcher. He attained his PhD in Library and Documentary Science in 2013, and this is his story.

Hi Samir! Can you tell us a little about your background as a researcher and your current role?

img_8981

I’m Samir Hachani, lecturer at the school of library science, Algiers University II. I hold a PhD in Library Science from Algiers University II and a Master degree from The University of Southern California (U.S.C.) – Los Angeles. I hold positions in numerous scientific organisations but my main role, besides my teaching duties, is being Vice President of “Association Science et Bien Commun”, based in Quebec (Canada) and whose motto is “For an open science, for the common good”. We militate in this association for a just and open share of science and an empowerment of the research in The Souths (we use the plural because we think the South is not uniformly made up and there are many level of developing countries) through our flagship program S.O.H.A. (Science Ouverte Haiti Afrique – Open Science Haiti Africa). My main research interests center around open access, open science, open peer review and also digital divide.

When did you first hear about Open Access and Open Science? What was your first thought?

I first heard about open access some 10-15 years ago when I started investigating my thesis subject and I almost instantly got interested in the subject because the philosophy behind the concept was quite simple and enthralling: give access to knowledge produced by researchers or plain folks to these same people through The Internet. I first heard about open science much later (around 2010). My first impression was that I had to commit myself to the movement because it describes what I have always felt about life: sharing is paramount to make the world fair and equitable and there should not be a difference in accessing knowledge between the “have” and “have not“.

What is the current status of Open Access development in Algeria? Is there a national-scale policy in place?

It is sad to say that open access in Algeria is in dire situation. This is due to numerous reasons the UNESCO’s Global Open Access Portal summarizes in: “Lack of information on Open Access, the concept is new and not popularized enough thus implementation is not rapid, lack of clear institutional and national policy on Open Access, difficulty of securing long-term funding and getting commitments from more institutions to join the open access community”. As a practitioner speaking from the field, I could add a very weak and unstable Internet connection, a weak bandwidth (upload and download) and a rather restrictive national policy regarding telecommunications that are still public and have not been privatized. It seems that the concept itself is ignored and as an example, I conducted a questionnaire on the subject of open archives use and one of the answers was that researchers used “archives of the colonial period“!!! There is no clear policy on the subject as it is ignored and the only initiatives are those undertaken in the academic world.

Continue reading “The state of Open in Algeria: an in-depth view with Samir Hachani”  

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