Bay Area Open Science Group 2022-23 Reflection
The Bay Area Open Science Group (BAOSG) is a collaborative community for Bay Area academics and researchers interested in incorporating open science into their research, teaching, and learning. This June we completed our 3rd year of programming, offering 9 sessions to our community members in the 2022-23 academic year. This post reflects on the themes and lessons that emerged from this year’s conversations and proposes plans for the future both for our group and other growing communities of practice in open science.
|August 2022||BAOSG Facilitators||Open Science Team Agreements Template discussion and incorporation of feedback from attendees|
|#FOAMed (Free Open Access Medical education)||September 2022||Dana Larsen (UCSF)||Innovations in open curriculum for nephrology students|
|NASA TOPS (Transform to Open Science) Curriculum Development||October 2022||Natasha Batalha (NASA Ames)||An introduction to the development of an open science curriculum as part of the NASA TOPS initiative for the 2023 Year of Open Science|
|Federal Open Science Policies||November 2022||BAOSG Facilitators||Review of the 2023 NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy and the 2023 OSTP Memo|
|Project TARA (Tools to Advance Research Assessment), Building Blocks for Impact||February 2023||Ruth Schmidt (Institute of Design, Illinois Tech)||Discussion of assessing impactful research through an open science lens|
|Open and Reproducible Science at Stanford||March 2023||Joshua Buckholtz (Stanford)||Discussion of the intersection of DEI and Open Science principles and practices.|
|Open Science in Bioengineering with the Fraser Lab||April 2023||Robbie Diaz and Christian Macdonald (UCSF)||Discussion of the culture of Open Science in the Fraser Lab, the opportunities it has presented and impact it has had on members.|
|Open Data||May 2023||Steve Diggs|
(UC California Digital Library)
|Discussion of data activism, data loss, and the four steps in data publishing.|
|ChatGPT and SciHub, an informal chat||June 2023||BAOSG + Albert Lee (UCSF)||Discussion on the intersections between ChatGPT and SciHub and how researchers use them to find information|
Themes from the Year
This year’s sessions were organized around pre-planned themes, with Fall 2022 dedicated to open science resources, and Spring 2023, open science impact, but we found that many recurring themes emerged as we reflected on the presentations and conversations we engaged in throughout the year.
- The role of the Open Science Champion – The successful adoption and implementation of open science practices is often driven by a champion. Champions are key in introducing, supporting, and adopting open science practices, particularly when in senior roles. On the positive side, this champion acts as a mentor and trailblazer (as in the case of the Fraser Lab), but newer researchers can be hesitant to move into a niche that seems fully occupied by the champion or assume that the champion’s approach is the only approach.
- Fear – Researchers are often afraid that increasing the transparency of their research will lead to more scrutiny and critiques of their work. There is fear of having errors and mistakes exposed and of not doing open science “right.” Changing the culture and lowering the barrier of entry to open science was a recurring topic in our conversation with Joshua Buckholtz, (Director of the Center for Open and Reproducible Science at Stanford) who questioned how we balance stringent requirements of reproducibility with our values of diversity and inclusion.
- Career incentives – The lack of career incentives to practice open science can prevent uptake. We heard different approaches to this challenge. Ruth Schmidt presented her design work with Project TARA creating/visualizing a new tool for research assessment and impact and Robbie Diaz from Fraser Lab about challenging the status quo and the fact that sometimes you just have to do it.
- Diverse educational approaches – Several of the talks this year centered on efforts to introduce aspects of open science to very different audiences. We heard about integrating free and open resources into twitter chats for Nephrology fellows at UCSF, creating open science modules for NASA researchers, and using the open science templates for small scale educational conversations in a lab. We also heard about approaching open science as an act of activism from Steve Diggs.
- Scale + Top down vs bottom up – Despite the challenges of applying Open Science principles at scale, we heard about examples of open science initiatives occurring at the individual, lab, institutional, and federal levels. Resource development and efforts to move the open science movement forward come from all directions. Several presentations addressed the hurdles involved in getting people to adopt open science practices: Project TARA focuses on career impact and incentives, NASA TOPS aims to certify 20,000 learners in Open Science, at UCSF the Fraser Lab influences workflows at the scale of a lab group, as does our own Open Science Team Agreements Template.
- Long term perspective – Many of our sessions focused on current actions, perspectives and approaches of the moment; our conversation with Steve Diggs touched on the value of data repositories but also the life expectancy of such archives and their potentially limited longevity. Considerations of long term measurements of open science practices are something we would like to focus on in the future.
- Ethics – Ethical concerns emerged in several sessions, notably the discussion of ChatGPT/SciHub; OERs with FOAMed (Free Open Access Medical Education); and in the Open Data conversation related to avoiding parachute science to collect data, the monetization of data sharing for AI/ML and educating communities about the value of their data.
Together we successfully hosted 9 events this academic year with an average attendance of 13 people per session, with our highest attendance of 19 at the ProjectTARA and ChatGPT and SciHub sessions. Most sessions featured active participation in Zoom chat, a lively discussion, and to a lesser extent participation in our running collaborative notes doc and through slack.
One of our goals for the year was to recruit a diverse group of speakers representing different academic roles and racial backgrounds. We ended up having 11 total speakers from several different roles including graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff. However, only about a third of our sessions featured a BIPOC speaker.
For the 2023-24 academic year, we would like to highlight more student and early career speakers. We would also like to invite more BIPOC speakers. If you are interested in presenting at a future meeting, or know of an open science advocate who you would like to nominate, please contact us. We are hoping to reserve an upcoming session for a career-focused talk, as this is an active topic in our slack channel.