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ODiP: Open data and the scientific gift culture

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Kevin Cowtan spoke about the significant benefits he has gained from openly sharing his research data at the first Open Data in Practice event at the University of York on 15 November 2018.

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ODiP: Open data and the scientific gift culture

  1. 1. Kevin Cowtan Open data and the scientific gift culture
  2. 2. Who am I? ● CCP4-funded Research Fellow in York Structural Biology Laboratory (Department of Chemistry) ● Developer of computational methods for X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy ● An 'accidental' climate scientist. ● Chair of the university Research Data Management group
  3. 3. Why am I talking to you? A career built on open software and open data...
  4. 4. Crystallography software... ● Expensive ● Outdated ● Hard to learn
  5. 5. Coot...
  6. 6. Intellectual property in the 1990s High priority on commercialisation. We constantly needed to explain: ● What “free software” was, ● Why we were doing it.
  7. 7. What do we get out of it? Academic impact... ● Coot > 20,000 citations − 10 new citations/day ● Several other papers > 1,000 citations
  8. 8. Gift culture Science works because we share our results. Bernard of Chartres: “dwarves on the shoulders of giants”
  9. 9. Global warming “hiatus” This difference between simulated and observed trends could be caused by some combination of (a) internal climate variability, (b) missing or incorrect radiative forcing and (c) model response error. the [temperature] trend over 1998–2012 is estimated to be around one-third to one-half of the trend over 1951–2012 IPCC 5th Assessment Report, 2013
  10. 10. Hiatus?
  11. 11. Monthly updates ● Update with latest data every month ● 1-2 hours work/month − occasionally more ● A “temporary” effort − 4 years and counting! ● Citations...
  12. 12. NASA/NOAA Annual climate press conference
  13. 13. NASA/NOAA Annual climate press conference
  14. 14. Benefits of being a data provider ● Citations ● Collaborations − REF returnable papers ● Grants − BBSRC grants, CCP4 fellowship, NERC large grant ● Commercial income
  15. 15. Survivorship bias
  16. 16. Evidence ● Open data increases citations ● Open data generates economic value
  17. 17. How does it work?
  18. 18. How does it work? Any time I start a piece of work on a funded project, or have an unfunded idea which might be publishable, I start preparing data for release… ● Create a project folder ● Create an experiment folder in the project folder ● Start adding the data I am going to use
  19. 19. How does it work? Every time I do or update an experiment: ● Clone the folder (or use version control) ● Make a note of the folder name and the new experiment When I report the results (paper or otherwise): ● Archive and release any experiments which contributes
  20. 20. How does it work? Other benefits: ● Avoids having to redo everything to produce the supporting data for a paper. − And reduces mistakes ● Reviewers ask for alternative approaches – easy ● Updating results with newer data - easy ● Others reuse my code/data and ask me to be a co-author
  21. 21. Conclusions Open data can benefit you, the university and the public. ● More collaborations, papers and grants ● Benefit to the economy: REF impact studies ● Benefit to the department: REF environment ● Benefit to you: collaborations, papers, grants and…
  22. 22. Conclusions Open data can benefit you, the university and the public. ● More collaborations, papers and grants ● Benefit to the economy: REF impact studies ● Benefit to the department: REF environment ● Benefit to you: collaborations, papers, grants and… …better science!
  23. 23. Thank you for listening!

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