ReproducibiliTea Blog

How (some) scientists talk about openness

Edinburgh ReproducibiliTea held another great session last Friday, with Dr. Rosalind Attenborough from University of Edinburgh – Science, Technology and Innovation Studies! Her research is focused on the researchers’ attitudes towards open science and here are the main points of her insightful talk for those who have missed;

For her PhD project, Dr. Attenborough interviewed 54 individuals from various career stages, genders and disciplines in biology. She mainly explored what does open science mean to them. Although the interviewees came up with various responses to her question, majority of them fell under three category: open access, open data and interpersonal openness.

In general, researchers tends to be positive while talking about open access and believes that it is a good idea. Yet, it does not go without mentioning the monetary and bureaucratic issues around it. 

Open data is a completely different story. While interviewing scientists and policymakers, Dr. Attenborough saw that people’s attitudes varied immensely. Some of the interviewees perceived it as a norm and embraced it with passion, while the others were cautious. What makes people refrain from sharing data seems to be stemming from the possibility of receiving destructive criticism and getting scooped.

The last category, interpersonal openness, refers to willingness and ability to talk about unpublished research ideas. Like data sharing, interpersonal openness also gets negatively affected by the competitive research culture as well as unsupportive mentorship.

Dr. Attenborough’s work is particularly insightful as it sheds a light on in which ways academia has to change so that the researchers , especially the ECR’s, can feel more comfortable embracing open science practices.

This blog is written by Bengü Kalo

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