Fellow-Programm Freies Wissen — Interim report[Bearbeiten]
The core aim of the current project is to encourage and facilitate the use of open experimental material in the cognitive and behavioral sciences. The approach is both (a) technical, in that I build open tools that make make sharing research materials not only possible, but easy, and (b) educational, in that researchers need to be informed of the benefits of creating and sharing open research materials and protocols, and provided the information and training to implement the necessary steps on their own.
A/B. Status quo and progress[Bearbeiten]
During the first half of the fellowship, my focus has been on the technical foundations of the project. I have extended the experimental software I have worked on,
lab.js, to support templates, community-contributed building blocks for common experimental paradigms. Thanks to the fellowship, I have been able to start building a repository of paradigms, with a dozen experiments available already, and roughly as many currently under construction. As a first step to increasing the public visibility of this effort, I recently submitted a preprint that describes this process in detail.
Though not part of the original proposal, I received a lot of excellent feedback on the https://how-to-open.science website over the course of the introductory workshop, and have been able to implement most of it. For example, upon suggestion by the mentors and with the approval of all previous contributors, we changed the license of the content to a FAIR-compatible one.
For the second part of the fellowship, my focus will shift more toward outreach and training. In February, I will be teaching my first workshop on open experiment building and open research materials at the University of Kiel. I am currently arranging logistics to teach a pre-conference workshop at the annual meeting of experimental psychologists (TeaP) in April, and have submitted a hackathon to the annual meeting of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science in July. In between, I expect to provide similar workshops at least in my home institutions, the universities of Mannheim and Landau. With the experience from these workshops, I hope to have the materials in a state from which I can create video tutorials on the same content.
A. Mentor relationship[Bearbeiten]
I am glad to have benefited from a constructive and cordial relationship with my mentor, and very much enjoyed our monthly update calls. Our focus over the past half year has been on improving publicity, and the effective use of social media in particular.
I would like to use this forum to echo a fellow fellow’s suggestion to, in future cohorts, use the introductory workshop to more collaboratively setup the mentoring teams, and to explicitly discuss aims and means of the mentoring in order to make it as effective as possible within the confines of the programme. I would also like to second the recommendation to more directly address the needs and aspirations of potential fellows in the application phase.
B. Collaborations with other fellows[Bearbeiten]
The chance to engage with other like-minded young scientists has been the most rewarding aspect of this programme for me. Right on the first evening, the FFW alumnus Ruben Arslan and I discovered we had encountered the same problem in our research, and we are now working on a joint paper solving it. In October, I had the chance to spend a day with André Chagas at the Mozilla Festival building open scientific hardware for cognitive science, which was inspiring and instructive, and from which we both emerged with a prototype of a device that would cost thousands of euros to buy commercially.
I also every much enjoyed the exchanges with the other fellows, with whom I have been in loose contact. Looking back at the beginning of the programme, I would very much have appreciated more time with the other fellows to discuss projects and opportunities for supporting one another. Peeking at the others’ interim reports, I see many aspects where I could have offered relevant expertise – screencasting, for example, or building websites. I cannot quite shake the feeling that we missed opportunities for synergy, especially with fellows who reside outside of Berlin. My hopes are high for our meeting in February, which I am very much looking forward to.
A. Outreach with regard to the fellowship programme[Bearbeiten]
With support from my mentor, I have drafted a post for the Wikimedia blog outlining my project goals, which is slated for publication in January or February. Breaking the project down into layman’s terms has been a worthwhile experience. I continue to be active on Twitter and Github, as my workload permits.
B. Spreading knowledge[Bearbeiten]
This section is explicitly addressed and outlined above as part of my project proposal.
A. New initiatives for open science[Bearbeiten]
To my knowledge, there have been no new initiatives in support of open science at my institutions since October. The existing Open Science Working Group, which I co-founded and co-chair, continues its efforts in form of a workshop series.
B. Future avenues for open science initiatives[Bearbeiten]
I think that there is a large untapped potential for collaborations between scientists developing open software in the social and behavioral sciences. The more time I spend on my projects, the more I encounter others who similarly enjoy building useful tools, and are doing (what I think is) fantastic work. Almost universally, the support for these researchers is non-existent or paltry, and their projects are labours of love. I think that these projects are valuable, and deserve to be represented as part of our field, similar to our colleagues in bioinformatics. I had hoped for the Joint Roadmap of Open Science Tools to fill this gap, and have reached out looking to join their efforts, but they have been entirely non-responsive. I have no concrete plans so far, but I think this would be worth pursuing, possibly in tandem with the newly founded German chapter of the Research Software Engineers group.