What does it mean to be open?

4 March 2019

In February, a hundred academics, students and professionals gathered from across Australia and the globe to dicuss the diverse meanings of “openness” in scientific life. 

The day-long public workshop, featuring speakers from The Australian National University, University of Adelaide, University of Edinburgh, protocols.io, and others, aimed to explore the implications of openness and reproducibility for science and its supporting institutions. 

This workshop was co-hosted by Professor Joan Leach and Associate Professor Sujatha Raman from CPAS and Professor Susan Howitt and ARC Future Fellow Dr Benjamin Schwessinger at the ANU Research School of Biology.

It was 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.

Ms Attenborough said an important theme was a need to create a strong systems and infrastructures for openness.

"From the panel we heard a range of compelling arguments and stories, which challenged common definitions and assumptions about openness in science," said Ms Attenborough. 

"But we were also reminded that some of the earliest aims of open movements — such as open access to research literature — remain relevant and valuable.

"We look forward to developing openness as an institutional focus, research theme, and basis for ongoing collaboration."

To read more about the event, and see slides and audio recordings, please visit the event page.