Saving Science - Open Up or Perish


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Science is not an exclusive realm limited to people in white lab coats with Ph.D.s, but rather a way of thinking applied to everything from advanced computational simulations on nuclear material to brewing an award-winning beer. However, current scientific practices are undermining the very progress and innovation they were designed to stimulate, bringing us to the brink of a crisis. The lack of openness, access to data and methods, and opaque review processes have created a system that threatens the very foundation of scientific reasoning.

However, there are many people and organizations working to prevent the collapse of the pillars science. The champions of the Open Science movement are passionately working to change the course of science and steer it back to its roots of reproducibility. In the process, the movement is also driving a new democratization of science that enables a much broader participation in scientific work and puts within the reach of the normal citizen the possibility of reproducing experiments and taking part in the scientific process. Science will fuel the future, if only we are all open to it.

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Saving Science - Open Up or Perish

  1. 1. Saving Science Open Up or Perish Dr. Marcus D. Hanwell TEDxAlbany November 14, 2013
  2. 2. “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”
  3. 3. Nullius in verba Motto of the Royal Society, founded in 1660 “Take nobody’s word for it”
  4. 4. Trust, but verify
  5. 5. Trust, but verify
  6. 6. Trust, but verify
  7. 7. Trust, but verify
  8. 8. “Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham
  9. 9. Reproducibility
  10. 10. CC-BY-SA 3.0
  11. 11. Showing What’s Inside the Box! •  Need everything to reproduce results o  o  o  Raw data collected §  How it was collected, conditions, versions Steps to run calculations/analysis §  Often source code Analyzed results SHOW YOUR WORK!
  12. 12. “Publishing Research Without Data is Simply Advertising, Not Science” Graham Steel,
  13. 13. Reproducibility!
  14. 14. “Is the evidence for austerity based on an Excel spreadsheet error?” Washington Post, April 2013
  15. 15. What is Open??? •  What does open mean, how open is open? o  o  Everyone has the same access No commercial, no derivatives is NOT OPEN •  Certain basic rights are granted to ALL o  o  o  Share Modify Use
  16. 16. Only 6 out of 53 “landmark” cancer studies could be reproduced
  17. 17. Reproducibility Initiative Receives $1.3M Grant to Validate 50 Landmark Cancer Studies
  18. 18. An Analogy: Making Beer •  I make great home brew! o  Using 5 gallon bioreactors to make “sweet nectar” o  I sing to my beer each evening as it ferments! My assertion is: §  It energizes the yeast, and makes sweeter beer... I have graphs showing 9/10 people prefer it Even did chemical analysis showing less esters! •  I discovered a technique to make it better! o  o  o 
  19. 19. CC-BY-SA,
  20. 20. Do I Really Need to Share More? •  The beer I sang to was next to my stool o  o  It was in a colder part of my basement §  I didn’t want to sit for hours in the hot part! Yeast produce more esters when they are too hot §  They needed to be in a control group §  It didn’t matter if it got a little hotter over there •  Do I want to sell beer, or do science? REPRODUCIBILITY!
  21. 21. CC-BY-SA:
  22. 22. Correlation does not equal causation
  23. 23. GTO = ce !! r 2 "i = " cµi"µ µ # ( r ) = "" Pµ! "µ"! µ !
  24. 24. Data GTO = ce !! r 2 "i = " cµi"µ Equations µ # ( r ) = "" Pµ! "µ"! µ ! Source Code
  25. 25. Always Pushing the Boundaries •  Science is about learning new things •  Understanding the universe •  Communicating that understanding •  Adding to the sum of human knowledge •  It is not about o  “selling ideas” or “promoting your work”
  26. 26. all Show your work
  27. 27. Let’s make science open again!