Openness and Reproducibility in Science

25 February 2019

Presented by the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and the Research School of Biology. 

What does it mean to be open – for scientists, for researchers, and for universities? We would like to invite you to a day workshop on the topic of openness and reproducibility in science, featuring speakers from the ANU, University of Adelaide, University of Edinburgh,, and many more, with plenty of time devoted to discussion. This will be a time and space to unpack the diverse meanings of “openness” in scientific life in light of prominent debates and concerns around the topic, and to explore the implications for science and the institutions that support and govern science. This event will bring together a diverse group including scientists as well as researchers studying social, cultural and historical aspects of science and science communication.

Scientific openness is both very old and very new. For centuries, communal sharing of knowledge has been valued, if not practised, in the cultural sphere of the academy. The UK’s Royal Society claims: “Much of the remarkable growth of scientific understanding in recent centuries is due to open practices; open communication and deliberation sit at the heart of scientific practice.” (Science as an open enterprise, 2012, p. 13)

In the 21st century, “open” in science has a new salience, and powerful, multiplying meanings accompanied by social movements. From open access publishing to open data archiving, to open peer review and open notebook science, practices under the “open” umbrella carry hopes of fixing or revolutionising science communication, and science itself. Such practices can speak to wider debates at the interface of science, society and policy, as openness is linked to new ways of doing science “with” society.

Increasingly, the “open” imperative is top-down, as funding regimes and institutions encourage or enforce open practices. Some scientists have led movements towards openness, but many more are distanced or ambivalent, leading questions about cultural barriers in our scientific systems, and in some cases, institutional calls for “cultural change”. Questions are also emerging about reproducibility of research findings, and the implications of new practices and infrastructures around data and data management in this regard. Such debates within science are now publicised more openly, in turn raising new challenges and dilemmas.

In what appears to be a moment of challenge and transformation for scientific culture, we hope to catalyse a discussion of “open” and its possible meanings, including those which may not be part of the current open science discourse. Which aspects of research culture do we cherish, and where do we want to see change – if we want “openness”, what does it look like? What are our hopes for, or anxieties around, the implementation of “open” in our own institutions and research?

--This workshop is co-organised by Ros Attenborough, ANU graduate and visiting PhD student from the University of Edinburgh, whose research in the UK and in Australia explores the contemporary emergence of “open” as a priority in science, and how it is understood and experienced by (biological) scientists, policymakers, and “open” advocates. It is hosted and co-convened by Prof Joan Leach and A/Prof Sujatha Raman at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (ANU), and Prof Susan Howitt and ARC Future Fellow Dr Benjamin Schwessinger at the Research School of Biology (ANU) as part of the “Increasing Reproducibility and Rigor” initiative at the Research School Biology. Together with workshop participants, we look forward to developing openness as an institutional focus, research theme, and basis for ongoing collaboration.


Professor Joan Leach (ANU) (MC)

A/Prof Sujatha Raman (ANU)

Ros Attenborough (University of Edinburgh)

Prof Rachel Ankeny (University of Adelaide)

Prof Ginny Barbour (QUT, AOASG)

Dr Chris Cvitanovic (ANU)

Prof Kiaran Kirk (ANU) [TBC]

Prof Cameron Neylon (Curtin University)

Dr Benjamin Schwessinger (ANU)

A/Prof Adam Sparks (University of Southern Queensland)

Dr Sarvenaz Sarabipour (Johns Hopkins)

Dr Alice Richardson (ANU, R-Ladies Canberra)

Dr Lenny Teytelman (CEO

Dr Petra Kuhnert (Data61, CSIRO, R-Ladies Canberra)

Prof Adrian Mackenzie (ANU) 





Arrival, coffee

Session 1: Ideas of openness


Welcome and introduction

Prof Joan Leach (ANU)


Talks: mapping the landscape of open science



Ros Attenborough (Edinburgh) SLIDES [.PDF], AUDIO [EXTERNAL LINK] 


Coffee break


Panel discussion: Why openness? What does it mean and what is it for?

Prof Rachel Ankeny (Adelaide)

Prof Ginny Barbour (QUT, AOASG)

Dr Chris Cvitanovic (ANU)

Prof Kiaran Kirk (ANU) [TBC]

Prof Cameron Neylon (Curtin) [TBC]

Prof Adrian Mackenzie (ANU) [TBC]



Session 2: Practices of openness


Talk: "What's So Open About Plant Pathology?"


A/Prof Adam Sparks (USQ)


Intro, followed by open discussion:

"What are preprints and how do they accelerate science communication?"

Dr Sarvenaz Sarabipour (Johns Hopkins) via Zoom


Talk: “Building a local community: R-Ladies in Canberra"

Dr Alice Richardson (ANU, R-Ladies Canberra)

Dr Petra Kuhnert (Data61, CSIRO, R-Ladies Canberra)


Coffee break



"How to facilitate a global open science early career research community with local impact"

Dr Benjamin Schwessinger, eLife ambassador program, reproducibility for everyone


Talk: “For reproducibility, we need the methods behind the data.”

Dr Lenny Tetylman (CEO of via Zoom




Poster session and socializing

(posters on different topics related to reproducibility and rigour)

Posters organised by Dr Diep Ganguly (post-doc, ANU)

Eucalyptus Seminar Room, R.N. Robertson Building, The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra


Rosalind Attenborough
02 6125 0498