Carnegie Mellon University
February 28, 2019

Symposium at Mellon Institute Highlights Advantages of 'Open Science'

By Ben Panko

Researchers and students from a variety of disciplines at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh gathered last fall at the Mellon Institute to share tips and challenges around open science with experts from other U.S. universities and companies.

"There is a growing open science movement that aims to make all research products, including data, code and publications freely available and reusable," said Melanie Gainey, University Libraries liaison to the Departments of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, "but there are still a lot of challenges for researchers who are interested in or mandated to adopt more open workflows."

Gainey helped organize the two-day symposium last October that featured more than a dozen expert speakers from across the country as well as a variety of hands-on workshops for attendees.

Anisha Keshavan, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington's Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences, presented an example of an open science tool she's created to help her research. Modeled loosely on the dating app Tinder, "braindr." allows any person to assist neuroscience studies by doing "swipes for science" on brain scan images to designate whether they're good quality or not.

From closer to campus, Nick Nystrom, former interim director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), and Paula Buitrago, PSC's artificial intelligence and big data group leader, presented both a lecture and workshop about how the PSC's resources can be used as a platform for open data research. Professor of Physics Reinhard Schumacher presented about his long-time use of the innovative pre-print website arXiv, which allows scientific papers to be freely read and shared without requiring expensive journal subscriptions or institutional access. Talks from the Open Science Symposium can be found on Open Science Framework.

"We received a lot of feedback that suggests that the CMU and Pitt communities are really interested in having more of this type of programming," Gainey said of the symposium, and she said University Libraries is already planning the next Open Science Symposium, which will be held on November 7th, 2019.

The symposium was a joint event by the University Libraries and the Mellon College of Science, with funding from the DSF Charitable Foundation. Along with Gainey, the event was organized by Ana Van Gulick, Librarian and Open Science Program Director, Librarian Huajin Wang and Eric Yttri, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences.