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Category: Open Science Interviews

Dasapta Erwin Irawan: The state of Open Science in Indonesia and how to drive change to make research better for everyone

Full steam ahead with our incredible Open Science Stars! We hope you’ve been enjoying it so far, and today we’re bringing you Dasapta Erwin Irawan, a a researcher based in Indonesia at the interface between Engineering, Hydrogeology and Geoscience, and an avid open science supporter. Enjoy his story!

When did you first hear about ‘open science’? What was your first reaction, do you remember?
It’s kind of funny, I heard it first from you :). (Ed: *sniff*) It was one of your blog post in 2012 Relocation, and a chance to try some open science-ing that gave me ideas of sharing my results as fast as I can and as wide as I can. I had finished my PhD when I first read it and your posts on EGU blog. There I noticed your hash tags ‘#OpenPhD` then followed it. I wasn’t serious in using my Twitter handle for academic purposes back then. My first reaction was, to make all my published papers available online, posted them all on my ResearchGate account and my blog.

You have a very strong commitment to open science. What is it that drives this for you?

My strong commitment has been built by seeing so many other doing the same thing. In Indonesia, where not many universities have subscription to major journals, open science could be the answer of what we’ve been looking for. Everybody here keeps saying to submit papers to major paywalled journals, as they have good reputation and indexed by WoS or Scopus, while it should not be that way. What we need in Indonesia is to keep writing, write more in English and find a way to make it easier to be found and accessible by others, as if it was indexed by WoS and Scopus. And I see by using the latest free and open source services, we can do that.

In Indonesia, where not many universities have subscription to major journals, open science could be the answer of what we’ve been looking for

Continue reading “Dasapta Erwin Irawan: The state of Open Science in Indonesia and how to drive change to make research better for everyone”  

Xuan Yu, a man with a mission to bring Open Science to the Earth [Sciences]

Part of my job at ScienceOpen is, and this might come as a surprise, advocating Open Science practices. It’s very easy to get bored of my own voice and ideas though, and I love hearing the perspectives and experiences of others. By listening to others about their Open Science adventures, and taking on board what they have to say and learning from them, we become stronger ourselves and as part of a community, and understand how to put things into practice more easily. This is why the Open Science Stars series exists, and why it’s so important! The next interview in the series is with Xuan Yu, and is our first with an Earth scientist, which is very exciting! Enjoy!

Credit: Xuan Yu
Credit: Xuan Yu

Hi Xuan! When did you first hear about ‘open science’? What was your first reaction, do you remember?

When I joined the OntoSoft committee meeting in March, 2015, I was introduced the concept of ‘open science’. I was not convinced by the concept, because there are usually many individual preference-based methods involved in most of geoscience projects.

It seems like much of the global push for open science comes from the Life Sciences. How are things in the Earth Sciences in terms of awareness and solutions?

Earth Sciences are slowing moving towards transparent, reproducible, and open culture. Many funding agencies and publishers have made actions to promote open science.

Can you tell us about some of the strategies you’ve developed for sharing data and software in geoscience? What drives your commitment to this?

I would like to recommend the strategy of transparent publication in geoscience. Sharing data and software with journal articles will draw wide attention and be practical. Because: 1) background information about the data and software has been explained in the article, which increases data transparency, 2) a scientific story in the article will lead readers to the data and software, which promotes the utility of the data. Specifically, there are four key steps in transparent publication of geoscience: persistent, linked, user-friendly, and sustainable (PLUS).

Continue reading “Xuan Yu, a man with a mission to bring Open Science to the Earth [Sciences]”  

A thoroughly British interview with Matthew Partridge

Cup of tea, anyone?
 
Continuing our amazing Open Science Stars series, we’re going a little closer towards my own routes today. We spoke with Matthew Partridge, a biochemist at Cranfield University in the UK about his experiences and thoughts on all things academia and open science. Caution: this post contains sarcasm.
 
Hi Matt! Thanks for joining us. Could you tell us a bit about your background?
 
No problem, happy to be here! And by here I mean ‘at my laptop 2 months after you sent me these questions, and several more weeks before it’s published’…
 
I’m not sure what to tell you about my background really (your next question deals with the ‘scientist’ bit) so I guess I could fill you in on the non-science part of my backstory. I’m British and in my mid 30’s and I currently work at Cranfield University – which is pretty much slap bang in the dead centre of England. My first degree is in BioChemistry, after which I spent 6 years toiling away in industrial medical device research. I then rejoined academia to do a PhD and have stayed ever since.
 
Matt assures me this a realistic representation of him..
Matt assures me this a realistic representation of him..
 
When did you first realise you wanted to be scientist? What was it that turned you?
I don’t think there was a time when I didn’t want to be a scientist. At various points in my life I’ve wanted to be various kinds of scientist – at one point even a pathologist. Both my parents were pharmacists so I was raised in a pretty pro-science house and it just appealed to me really. Although I did question it once when my science teacher wrote in final report (before moving to a bigger school) “Matthew should consider any career except science”. Since finding this out a few years ago, I have strongly resisted the urge to mail him 1,000 copies of my PhD thesis.
 

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Chris Hartgerink: A champion of Open Science

The Open Science Stars series has been one of the most pleasurable aspects for me of working at ScienceOpen, seeing the great diversity of researchers all around the world working to make science a better field to be in. For the latest, we spoke with Chris Hartgerink, a PhD student at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Chris has a strong background in open research practices, and is a prolific member of the data mining community. Here’s his story!

When did you first hear about ‘open science’? What was your first reaction, do you remember?

Credit: Chris Hartgerink
Credit: Chris Hartgerink

I first heard about Open Science in late 2012/early 2013 during my Masters. My then supervisor (Jelte Wicherts) said to me, “Let’s put all this online”, and I remember thinking this seemed so obvious but that I simply hadn’t considered it before – nor had I been taught about this during my education. This helped multiple puzzle pieces to fall into place. Since then transparent research has been central to all that I do. I also remember asking myself how to do this because it is non-trivial if you simply know nothing about it, and it has been a gradual process since then learning how to share in an easy-to-comprehend way. But it doesn’t have to be perfect from the beginning because open science is more a way of approaching science than it is a checkmark.

What has inspired your dedication to open research? What sort of things do you do on a daily basis to commit to this?

To be honest, what you call dedication is an ethical responsibility in my eyes. The old, opaque way of doing science is based on the analogue age with severely outdated standards. This is irresponsible, just like a current-day astronomer using Galileo’s antique telescope would be irresponsible. This antique telescope gives relatively imprecise measures compared to modern telescopes, so nobody would pay attention to new results based on it. I don’t think the science done with the antique telescope in the old days is invalid, I just think we have to build on the old, create the new, and then use the new. Closed research, as you might call it, is stuck in the old. I would even go so far to say that such unnecessarily (!) closed research obfuscates science and can be deemed pseudo-science. I hardly pay attention to new research that is unverifiable.

The old, opaque way of doing science is based on the analogue age with severely outdated standards.

By the way, when I say irresponsible, I mean irresponsible to others and to yourself. Our work is complex and making your work shareable and understandable to others helps others to understand what you did – including your future self. Transparent research has saved my skin repeatedly.

Continue reading “Chris Hartgerink: A champion of Open Science”  

Open Science Stars: Jacinto Dávila and Open Access in Venezuela

If there’s one thing that this Open Science Stars series has shown us, it is that there is a great diversity of perspectives and experiences in the world of scholarly publishing and communications. This week, we have the absolute please of giving you all an interview with Prof. Jacinto Dávila, a researcher based in Venezuela. Here’s his open story.

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

Hello Jon. I am a computational logician. That is probably a label, invented at Imperial College (Ed: yay!). So, I would add that I am System Engineer and also got a PhD in Logic from Imperial. But almost all my professional life has been spent teaching and doing research at Universidad de Los Andes, in Venezuela. Thus, I will call myself a computer scientist in the third world.

Credit: Jacinto Davila
Credit: Jacinto Dávila

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

We had news of the rising movement back in 2005, thanks to Jean-Claude Guedón. I used to be at the computing academic board of my University and we got serious about it in 2006, submitting a proposal for our rector to sign the Berlin Declaration, which he did on October, 2006[1]. By then, we already had a fully operational repository[2], which have been up and running since 1995. We saw the open access initiative as a fantastic opportunity to level the game because we have historically suffered to have access to international results, which is always an expensive deal. We also thought, naively in retrospect¸that just by going open we would have a fair chance of publishing our own work too.

We need to change the defaults views on sharing knowledge, at least for public works.

Continue reading “Open Science Stars: Jacinto Dávila and Open Access in Venezuela”  

Combating the reproducibility crisis in research – Joe Akin

In the last Open Science Stars post, we spoke with Obinna Ojemeni who gave us an eye-opening account about the state of Open Access in Nigeria. We’re shifting gears again this week and delving into the murky world of reproducible research, a bit of a hot topic at the moment. Joe Akin of Scimpact was kind enough to tell us about how he is helping to make science more open and reproducible.

Hi Joe! Can you tell us a little bit about your background to get things rolling?

I have always been interested in science and technology. It was this interest that, in part, drew me to attend the US Air Force Academy and afterwards serve as a scientist in the Air Force Research Laboratory, supporting the demanding technological needs of the US Air Force. After completing my service and wanting to direct my scientific effort towards biomedical science, I pursued a PhD in immunology at Harvard University. Because of the university’s great breadth of scientific pursuits, I was able to find a lab where my previous expertise in engineered materials and biomaterials was useful within the context of immunology research—novel materials for cancer vaccine delivery.

When did you first hear about Open Access and Open Science? What were your original thoughts?

I first heard these concepts at the Council of Science Editors conference in the spring of 2015. I thought they sounded like laudable ideas, and I was particularly interested on two fronts:

  • How to get scientists to change from convention and support a new paradigm?
  • How to get publishers to do likewise, especially when it threatens the financial outlook for their institutions?

What was the rationale behind building Scimpact? How does this fit into your future vision for Open Science?

The impetus for Scimpact grew out of Girija and my frustrations, towards the end of our PhDs, in knowing that a lot of the hard work we had done would never be communicated to the larger scientific community and the prospect of many others duplicating the work we had done, needlessly. I believe it was an altruistic driver, from the outset.

Credit: Scimpact
Credit: Scimpact

What are the advantages of using Scimpact over traditional publishing models?

Scimpact aims to integrate with a lot of the current activity around making science more open. We are just one piece of a potential solution. We focus on the under-resourced element of making reproducibility of results transparent. We believe reproducibility can be the foundation for communication, rather than novelty.

We believe reproducibility can be the foundation for communication, rather than novelty.

Continue reading “Combating the reproducibility crisis in research – Joe Akin”  

The state of Open Access in Nigeria: Let’s stop talking, and start doing! – Obinna Ojemeni

Open Science is a global issue. This series has so far highlighted perspectives from our open science stars from around the world, and we believe having this diversity is critical to have a well-informed viewpoint on the state of research in general.

So this week, we are absolutely delighted to have Obinna Ojemeni with us from Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria.

Hi Obinna! Thanks for joining us. Could you tell us a bit about your background?

I am from the South-eastern part of Nigeria and the third/last of the three sons of my parents. I attended Nnamdi Azikiwe University where I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Science Education & Mathematics. After my National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) program, I proceeded to the premier University of Ibadan where I obtained both Master of Education and Master of Information Science in 2010 and 2014 respectively. A Science Educationist and Information Scientist by training, and presently a University Teacher in the newly formed department of Library and Information Science, Enugu State University of Science & Technology. I am also a Doctoral (PhD) student in Nnamdi Azikiwe University where I’m studying Information Science with special focus on developments in Nigeria’s Open Access publishing landscape and bibliometric studies.

When did you first realise you wanted to be researcher? What was it that turned you?

That would be probably after my Master of Education degree program in the department of Teacher Education, University of Ibadan, which is also where I learnt how to do research and had academics that inspired me too. Besides having been trained as an Educationist, the best career would be to educate the younger generation and encourage them too as well as change the poor perception about the teaching profession.

I would rather emphasize that I come from a family of teachers, both my paternal grandparents were secondary (grandfather) and primary (grandmother) school teachers respectively. While my Mother was a Secondary school teacher, which is why I decided to take the family legacy to another level by becoming a University Teacher 🙂

When did you first hear about Open Access and Open Science? What did you first think about it all?

I was introduced to Open Access by my Master of Information Science Project Supervisor, Dr Williams Nwagwu at Africa Regional Centre for Information Science (popularly known as ARCIS) in University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Before then I was proposing a bibliometric study of a local journal published by a scholarly society and suggesting its’ inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), but had no knowledge of the concept of Open Access. So I was mandated by my supervisor to read up studies on Open Access which gave me background knowledge of the concept and the BBB declarations that facilitated its adoption globally.

My first thought was the reality that little or no research would have been possible in Nigeria without the free availability of OA publications via the internet. And we as Nigerians especially Academics, are doing little or nothing to foster its sustenance.

Continue reading “The state of Open Access in Nigeria: Let’s stop talking, and start doing! – Obinna Ojemeni”  

Data sharing is crucial for genomics research!

Our ongoing ‘Open Science Stars’ series has highlighted some of the vast variety of views, experiences, and facets of open science, and a cadre of great people working to drive real and positive change. This week, we spoke with Fiona Nielsen, who has founded two companies dedicated to the sharing of genomics data! Here’s her amazing story.

Hi Fiona! Thanks for joining us at the ScienceOpen blog. Could you start off by letting us know a bit about your background?

Pleased to join your blog series. 🙂

I am a bioinformatics researcher with a background in computer science. My first degree was a short computer science degree, which I then expanded by studying bioinformatics at the University of Southern Denmark, where I gradually moved more and more into genetics and DNA sequence analysis. After my masters I moved to Nijmegen, the Netherlands where I studied for a PhD in bioinformatics at the NCMLS. During my time as a PhD student, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and I lost my motivation to work on scientific topics far removed from patient impact. I moved to Cambridge, UK to work for Illumina, and after two years I decided to leave my 9-5 job to start my own project: I founded first the charity DNAdigest and later the company Repositive to enable better data sharing within genomics research.

Cute! Had to share this from the Repositive site (https://repositive.io/)
Cute! Had to share this from the Repositive site (https://repositive.io/)

 

When did you first become interested in Open Access and Open Science? What was your initial reaction when you heard about it?

I do not recall when I first came across the terms of Open Access and Open Science, but I do recall that I repeatedly came across anecdotes from colleagues that could not access data or results from published papers, and how I looked up to the progressive researchers who would “go all the way” and make all data and results available immediately, even before publication of a paper.

  Continue reading “Data sharing is crucial for genomics research!”  

Science works best when it’s open and openly communicated

Well, we’ve had some absolute stars recently in our ‘open science’ series! If you haven’t seen them yet, head over and check them out – such a diverse array of experiences and perspectives! Today we spoke with Josh King, the founder of Brevy. It’s an awesome new platform, and we’ll let Josh tell you more about it here, enjoy!

Hi Josh, thanks for joining us! Could you tell us a bit about why you started Brevy?

Brevy is an independent, volunteer group of a few stubborn individuals who work on the project during our off hours (read “nights and weekends”). While my own day job is in science outreach, I work with a couple of other partners (a fantastic computer science start-up owner and a behavioural psychologist make up our merry band) to help direct and maintain the site. We’re nothing special on our own, so the real stars here are those that pitch a hand adding summaries to Brevy or introducing it as class assignments to help grow the body of content!

Credit: Josh King
Credit: Josh King

When did you first hear about Open Access and Open Science? What did you first think?

That would likely be during my undergraduate years studying biochemistry and becoming hopelessly frustrated trying to write reports using papers I often had no access to (even with our university library!). At the time, I thought the concepts as fanciful dreams,  but thankfully here we are with open access a growing paradigm and various open science platforms blossoming around the web.

What do you think the biggest problem with the current scholarly publishing system is?

Meaningful publishing. By reasonable estimates, at least more than a 1,000,000 academic papers are published each year. These works are published on platforms known largely only to academics, and then only to that specific subset of academia. Publications on these platforms are not always accessible even to this select group and generally do not well support further dialogue or dissemination, with a surprisingly significant number going uncited. Taken pessimistically, this is tantamount to ejecting hundreds of thousands of new pieces of knowledge into the void each year.

We can be optimistic about this however! Taken optimistically, there are hundreds of thousands of possibly exciting and ground-breaking new ideas all of the time that most of us don’t know about! But to see it this way, to truly believe it, we have to start caring about the meaningfulness of research. We have to start thinking about different types of impacts than citation count and means of prestige other than the journal name. And we have to care what our work means to the world outside academia.

Continue reading “Science works best when it’s open and openly communicated”  

Commander Jean-Paul Chretien: Open Access, The Military, and Public Health Emergencies

Recently, we’ve been running an ‘open science stars‘ series to highlight a range of great people from around the world working to advance open science practices. This week, we have something a little special for you. All previous interviews have been with students or researchers, but this story is from a physician in the United States Navy, Commander Jean-Paul Chretien! So sit back and enjoy the show.

Hi Commander Jean-Paul! For starters could you let us know a little about your background?

Thank you for interviewing me. Let me say first that throughout this interview I’m expressing my own views, not necessarily the official policy or position of the Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency, or US Government.

I’m a physician in the United States Navy, and my training is in public health, epidemiology, and informatics. I work on challenges at the intersection of health and national security, like infectious disease outbreaks and climate change.

I was drawn first to the military, before medicine, but I knew what life as a doctor is like because my parents are physicians. I wanted to be a military officer from a pretty young age. Service to country, the chance to lead, the adventure – all of that appealed to me. For college I went to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, thinking maybe I would command a warship someday. But while I was there, studying international affairs and national security, I learned that some of the most pressing security challenges were health problems like HIV/AIDS, at the time. And I learned that in many battles and wars, diseases crippled military forces and civilian populations in war zones. Infections often caused more casualties than combat.

So I decided to go to medical school, but not to be a doctor practicing in a clinic. I wanted to be a doctor for populations, and bring medical knowledge to decisions that impact military service members, the broader American public, and, well, everyone.

When did you first hear about Open Access and Open Science? What were your first thoughts? Has there ever been a case where lack of access to information has seriously compromised your work?

When I was a student working on my MD and my PhD in epidemiology, I didn’t think about Open Access because access wasn’t a problem for me. Through my university, I could access just about any journal article I needed. But later, when I began my global health work in the U.S. military, I saw how access restrictions constrained biomedical research, patient care, and population health around the world.

Distribution of Ebola Virus Outbreaks 1979-2008 (Source) CC BY-SA 3.0
Distribution of Ebola Virus Outbreaks 1979-2008 (Source) CC BY-SA 3.0

At that time, I worked in a Department of Defense program that partners with dozens of countries to improve their capabilities for detecting and containing epidemics. I had collaborators around the world, public health personnel and researchers in countries with limited resources, who could not read about studies on the diseases that burden them. How can they join the global effort against infectious disease outbreaks if they can’t always access the most current and best research on those diseases?

When I began my global health work in the U.S. military, I saw how access restrictions constrained biomedical research, patient care, and population health around the world.

Then, what galvanized my commitment to open access and open science in general was the Ebola outbreak that began in West Africa in late 2013, and spread to Europe and the U.S. It’s waning now, but infections are still occurring. There have been more than 28,000 confirmed cases with around 11,000 deaths, by far the largest Ebola epidemic ever.

Continue reading “Commander Jean-Paul Chretien: Open Access, The Military, and Public Health Emergencies”