Scientific Data | Scientific Data

Getting practical about the transition to Open Data

It’s Open Access Week and this Friday the Scientific Data team and colleagues at Nature Publishing Group are preparing for the second – now, annual – edition of our data-focused conference, Publishing Better Science through Better Data.

The conference explores the practical implications of data sharing for early career researchers as they conduct and publish their work. This includes advice on publishing, advancing careers, and discussion of emerging tools and resources available to researchers to help them, and society, derive maximum benefit from scientific research.

The event was in part born out of two frustrations. Firstly, that debates about open science and data sharing can, somewhat ironically, become separated from conversations about simply doing, and publishing, better science. Secondly, discussions about data sharing policies and principles can stall at a high level within organisations. We need more consideration of how data sharing requirements can create new opportunities – and challenges – for researchers, editors and other stakeholders conducting and publishing science “at ground level”. Pragmatic advocates for more open science need to reach scientists of all disciplines and at all levels, and be prepared to have difficult conversations. We hope our event is a small step in this direction.

The focus of this year’s conference is on natural sciences and medicine, from academic and industry research perspectives. Speakers include representatives from leading journals, research organisations, funding agencies and technology providers. Also, the lightning talks and demos will enable researchers and technologists to present case studies of data sharing and analysis tools, and data-intensive research, in action.

This interactive format was informed by feedback from delegates at our 2014 event, who asked for more presentations from active researchers and a more diverse selection of research funders’ perspectives. The lightning talks will cover data sharing resources and analysis tools, across medicine and biology, and a case study of reproducible research – sharing data, papers and computer code in neuroscience. We were impressed by the number and quality of proposals for lightning talks we received, and could easily have dedicated an afternoon to these presentations.

Similar to last year, tickets for the event sold out very quickly (less than 24 hours for the first ticket release). Videos and slides of all talks will be available after the event for those that could not attend. The outputs from last year’s half-day event are online.

We will be strongly encouraging tweeting during the conference with the #scidata15 hashtag.

We are, also, thrilled to have at the event the five winners of the Publishing Better Science through Better Data writing contest. This was organised with Naturejobs, and has found five budding – unpublished, PhD student – science writers who will be officially reporting on different sessions from the event for Naturejobs. In preparation for the event, you can read the winning and runner-up entries here.


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