Edinburgh Open Research Conference 2024

Join us on May 29th for the 2024 edition of the Open Research Conference. This year we are addressing the big challenge: culture change. It is not simply enough to facilitate open access and FAIR Data. We need to embed all aspects of Open Research into our everyday practices.

Join us to consider the broad themes of culture change, along with the role of next generation metrics, education, training and skills development in this process. We will also look to other contexts in which positive shifts in culture are actively taking place: EDI, healthy working lives, and research integrity. We ask what we can learn from these contexts, and how can we collaborate to make a more equitable and open research environment?

In addition to talks on the themes of research integrity, next generation metrics, and open research education & skills, there will be rapid-fire lightning talks, a poster session, and drinks reception along with plenty of opportunities to expand your network.

Registration for in-person attendance closes on May 19th and for online it’s May 24th, full details of the conference have been published.

If you would like to keep up with Open Research news, please sign up for the newsletter, and you can also follow Edinburgh Open Research on EventBrite to find out about our future events.

We look forward to welcoming you to the conference!

Kerry Miller,
Research Data Support Officer & Open Research Coordinator

 

Edinburgh Open Research Conference Proceedings

EOR logoOne of the ambitions for the EOR conference held in March, 2022, when we first started planning it was to make it as open and accessible as possible. To achieve this we made the whole event hybrid so that plenary talks, posters, and workshops were all accessible on the day to both in person and remote attendees. While this generally worked very well for both remote and in-person attendees, we also wanted to make it available to people who couldn’t attend on the day – so we recorded everything, and the recordings of the talks and posters can now be openly accessed through our Edinburgh Open Research journal at http://journals.ed.ac.uk/eor.

Kerry Miller
Research Data Support Officer & Open Research Co-Ordinator
Library Research Support

First Edinburgh Open Research Conference: March 27th 2022

On this day in history, Kerry Miller (Library Research Support) and Laura Klinkhamer (Edinburgh Open Research Initiative and ReproducibiliTea) delivered a packed programme of speakers, workshops, and poster presentations.

Attendees online and in person were treated to a fine and varied selection of talks. To begin with, topics ranged from Gavin McLachlan’s overview of current national and international political contexts and Dominic Tate’s review of the University’s Open Research Roadmap, to the latest in open access publishing from Rebecca Wojturska and Dominique Walker, FAIR principles from Susanna-Assunta Sansone, and Eugenia Rodrigues on inclusivity and Citizen Science.

Other speakers – Malcolm Macleod, Jane Hillston, Alan Cambell, and Stephen Curry – focused on research culture and integrity. Notably, they reminded us that open practices aren’t just essential for replication and verification, they might also help in dealing with all kinds of bad behaviour: bullying, harassment, perhaps even research misconduct. As one would expect, the need to incentivise and reward openness was also a hot topic. Not a bad idea, especially if the aim is to change people’s behaviour for the better.

The session on training and education was particularly interesting, especially the middle two presentations, both of which focused on openness and pedagogic practice. First, Madeleine Pownall presented a synthesis of evidence relating to impact on student outcomes. Her findings suggest that exposure to open practices can improve scientific literacy, critical thinking, and core competencies, including understanding statistics and research methods.

Nicely complementing Madeleine’s study, Emma MacKenzie and Felicity Anderson gave us the benefit of hands-on experience. Speaking from either side of the student-supervisor relation, they described their use of open source tools, materials, and mind-sets in student projects. Here, too, we saw the development of core competencies, this time including the documentation, discussion, and resolution of errors.

The lessons from all three presenters are clear enough: make the resources of scholarly research accessible and students will engage with them enthusiastically, intelligently, and with self-awareness. Just imagine what might be achieved should such attitudes ever escape the classroom and reach the wider world.

There were also poster sessions, culminating in first prize for Livia Scorza’s ‘Not going to waste – preserving Scotland’s COVID-19 waste water data,’ and there were workshops covering everything from public engagement to Open Research and AI.

The event concluded with a well-deserved show of appreciation for our organisers, Kerry and Laura. Meanwhile, everyone agreed that the day had been a lot of fun and educationally valuable. To see the ties between Open Research, Integrity, and Research Culture being drawn ever closer was both fascinating and encouraging; likewise, the enthusiasm for embedding openness in the student experience.

Best of all, however, it was good to be there in person, especially after the last two years. Speaking to real people and seeing others speak in all three available dimensions was really a very pleasant reminder of what it’s like to be a human being.

Simon Smith
Research Data Support Service

Photographs by Eugen Stoica: ES CC-BY 4.0

It Is Our Mantra

Last week I was honoured to accept an invitation to speak at the Library Technology Conclave at Somaiya Vidyavihar University in Mumbai, India, organised by Informatics Limited and the University. A prelude the day before the event included a half-day “Research Data Management (RDM) Basics” tutorial for about 50 attending librarians, which I delivered based on adaptations of our Research Data Support team’s training materials for PhD students and staff. The training exercises, developed from a few other external librarian training sessions I’ve done, focused on building librarians’ confidence in supporting researchers with data management planning and data sharing. Doing the training in person helped me to overcome communication barriers and foster deeper engagement than could have happened online only.

Lighting the flame of the conference

Lighting the flame of the hybrid conference

The conference was on the theme of “Research Data Management and Stewardship: Building Blocks for Open Science,” with a number of eminent librarians, scientists, and educators speaking in keynotes and on panels in six thematic sessions, in-person and remotely. There was a palpable sense of urgency to the proceedings, as those in the room were concerned that India’s scientific institutions, without funder mandates, national open infrastructure, nor observable changes in cultural norms for RDM and Open Science, might be left behind, given this emerging new, more transparent way of conducting research. Questions focused not on the What or Why of Open Science, but how to instigate behavioural change of scientists and researchers, and how librarians could create demand for new services such as data repositories and quickly skill themselves up.

I have some empathy for their position. A decade or so ago I attended conferences which felt more like hand-wringing than change-making, with endless talk of carrots and sticks (and carrot-stick jokes), with researchers explaining over and again their reluctance to be ‘scooped’ by giving access to their data. I am not sure what caused the tipping point to talking about the potential of data sharing and open science to the exciting reality of it happening, but it seems to have come round (more or less). I do still harbour concerns that our own researchers will be left out of participation in the shared infrastructure that is the European Open Science Cloud because of Brexit-related barriers here.

Robin with attendeesOne talk that piqued my interest involved a survey of librarians in Gujarat about RDM and their capacity to deliver new types of service, by Dr. Bhakti Gala. As the Indian LIS (library and information science) curriculum was apparently seen to not be delivering RDM training to any great extent yet, the researcher had asked how the librarians had acquired knowledge of RDM. She said that about half the librarians who had pursued self-training had learned from the free, online MANTRA course (which stands for Research Data Management Training), offered by the University of Edinburgh.

The Chair of the panel, Prof Shalini Urs, with whom I had had a conversation over dinner with about the name of the course, said [naming me, as I sat in the audience] that I would be happy to hear that was the case, to which I of course smiled and nodded. Alluding to our prior conversation about whether the name was a cultural [mis-]appropriation or not, she looked me in the eye and said, “It is Our MANTRA, now.” Which is, of course, the great thing about Openness.