Open science

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In recent years (perhaps a couple of decades), there has been an increasing demand from withing the scientific community itself, for making research more open. Although it is an incredibly nuanced discussion, the overall idea is that[@hohlbein2021aOpen microscopy in the life sciences: Quo Vadis?]

open science seeks to improve transparency, reproducibility, inclusiveness, and accessibility of research and innovation as, for example, discussed in the UNESCO draft recommendation on open science

On this general, broad, principles, different situations emerged. One is the open source nature of software, which predates the idea of open science, and has been used and pushed forward by individuals, companies, and other institutions. However, scientific software is surprisingly closed sourced. From analysis scripts to hardware control routines. On this topic, reading Notes on Working in Public - Nadia Eghbal by Nadia Eghbal can be enlightening.

On the other end of the spectrum is where open hardware sits, and which implies researchers should share more than a plain cartoon of their setups[@hohlbein2021aOpen microscopy in the life sciences: Quo Vadis?]. This is slowly changing, perhaps fueled by better digital literacy of scientists, perhaps by the easy exchange of 3D models through standard formats.

What is definitely true is that being open has an overhead which is not taken into consideration in grants, PhD or postdoc contracts, and that will eventually limit the incentives (see: changing scientific incentives can help overcome stagnation).

Finally, the other pillar of open science is data itself. There is a growing community pushing for FAIR principles. It is still much more limited that what one would expect, but there's definitely a path forward.


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Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
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