Open Science Evening Talks 2017: free event


This free event took place in the Rolex Learning Center from Monday 25th to Thursday 28th September at 6pm on the EPFL Campus (Rolex Learning Center). Following the programme of the Open Science Summer School, each day focused on a specific aspect of Open Science: landscape, publications, research data, code and tools.

The main goal was to encourage a constructive thinking and stimulate discussions about Open Science, offering every evening two or three short public talks followed by an aperitif, to allow participants exchange in an informal and convivial context.

The event was open to EPFL community, as well as all those who wanted to learn more about Open Science, getting an overview of its main stakes and the related evolution of academic research.


Watch the playlist of all talks given by specialists in the Open Science field on Youtube: 


Monday 25th September: Landscape

6pm General Introduction by Guilaine Baud-Vittoz

6.10pm « Open Science: state of play and perspective » by Arnaud Vaganay

Présentation to download (PPT- 8’799 Ko)                                                                       

This presentation will address two key questions: To what extent do researchers engage in Open Science? And, assuming that open science is the way forward, what are the main factors driving or hindering compliance? The main findings from the latest research across several disciplines will be presented. Their individual and organisational implications will be briefly discussed.

Arnaud Vaganay is Director of Meta-Lab, Research Associate at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Catalyst of the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in Social Sciences (BITSS). His research focuses on meta-research, which is the study of research practices and behaviours. Arnaud’s brand of meta-research aims to: measure the transparency and scientific credibility of applied social sciences (e.g. evaluations of employment policies); measure the influence of scientific norms, political institutions, financial incentives on the transparency and credibility of this research. His work has been published in academic journals and cited in various policy documents. Arnaud’s interest in meta-research stems from his experience as a policy and programme evaluator. He regularly advises policy-making institutions, including the European Commission, on research and methodological issues. Between 2004 and 2009, Arnaud was a senior consultant at Gellis, a Brussels-based management consultancy specialised in the evaluation of public programmes. Arnaud holds a PhD in Social Research Methods from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a MSc in political science from Science Po Grenoble, France.

6.30pm « An early career researcher’s view on modern and Open Scholarship », by Laurent Gatto

Présentation online                                                                                                            

If research is the by-product of researchers getting promoted, then shouldn’t we, early career researchers (ECRs), focus on promotion and being docile academic citizens rather than aiming for the more nobel cause of pursuing research to understand the world that surrounds us, and disseminate our findings using modern channels? Indeed, a critical point that is failing us, is the academic promotion of open research and open researcher, as a way to promote a more rigorous and sound research process and tackle the reproducibility crisis. In this talk, I will present the case for open scholarship from an early carrer researcher’s perspective, pointing out that being an open researcher is not only the right thing to do, but is also the best thing to do.

Laurent GattoLaurent Gatto is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. He is an avid open research advocate and make every possible effort to make his research reproducible and openly available. He is a Software Sustainability Institute fellow and a Data and Software Carpentry instructor, affiliated member of the Bioconductor project and a founding member of OpenConCam. His current open researcher activities focus on the Wellcome Trust Open Research Project, where they explore the barriers to open research, and the Bullied Into Bad Science campaign, an initiative by and for early career researchers who aim for a fairer, more open and ethical research and publication environment. Since 2017, he is also part of the eLife Early-career advisory group. He moved to Cambridge, UK, in January 2010 to work in the Cambridge Centre for Proteomics on various aspects of quantitative and spatial proteomics, developing new methods and implementing computational tools with a strong emphasis on rigorous and reproducible data analysis. He is also a visiting scientist in the PRIDE team at the European Bioinformatics Institute, and an affiliate teaching staff at the Cambridge Computational Biology Institute. He is currently a PI in the Cambridge Systems Biology Centre where he lead the Computational Proteomics Unit.


6.50pm « The path-dependance of academic value creation : impact, infrastructure and innovation in academic publishing », by Benedikt Fecher

Présentation to download (PDF – 1’332 Ko)                                                                       

Research funders and science policy makers increasingly demand science to be more open and transparent. In practice however, many of the initiatives under the umbrella of Open Science fail due to analogue thinking in an digital world. This talks gives a brief overview of Open Science and critically assesses its prevailing barriers.

Benedikt FecherBenedikt Fecher heads the research program « Knowledge Dimension » at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. He studied communication science and economics at the University of Erfurt, the University of Ottawa, and the University of Aalborg. In 2017, he earned is doctorate at the University of Arts in Berlin on the topics of academic data sharing while working at the German Institute for Economic research. Before, Benedikt was a DARIAH-DE research fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science and a scientific advisor for Open Access and Research Data at the Leibniz Association. In his research, Benedikt focuses on Open Science, knowledge transfer, and innovation in higher education.

7.15pm Aperitif

Tuesday 26th September: Publications

6pm Introduction

6.10pm « Preprints in the life sciences » by Jessica Polka

Présentation to download (PPT- 5’295 Ko)                                                                       

Our traditional publication system keeps new research hidden from public view long after it is ready to be evaluated by our peers. This has adverse consequences not only for individual careers, but also for the overall speed of scientific communication and discovery. Preprints, or manuscripts posted online before the completion of journal-organized peer review, offer a solution to this problem. In this interactive discussion, we will address the benefits of preprinting, concerns and challenges surrounding their use, and new developments – including rapidly changing funder and journal policies.

Jessica PolkaJessica Polka, PhD, is a visiting scholar at the Whitehead Institute and director of ASAPbio, a biologist-driven project to promote the productive use of preprints in the life sciences. She performed postdoctoral research in the department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School following a PhD in Biochemistry from UCSF. She also serves as President of the board of directors of Future of Research, steering committee member of Rescuing Biomedical Research, member of the NAS Next Generation Researchers Initiative, and member of ASCB’s public policy committee.



6.30pm « ScienceMatters – Publishing platform for single observations in science » by Lawrence Rajendran

Présentation to download (PPT- 6’353 Ko)                                                                       

ScienceMatters ( is the first platform for scientists to publish single observations and not fully developed stories. By eliminating the need to tell full stories, and favoring simple data-based observations over story-telling, we eliminate the current pressure to tell sexy stories. This also reduces the negative incentives associated with publishing in high-impact journals, namely to come up with data that must fit the big storyline, since it is this narrative pressure that in some unfortunate cases can lead to fraudulence. Therefore, ScienceMatters brings honesty and speed to scientific publishing and helps the science community to produce robust and better results. The platform is open access and allows scientists to get the unique opportunity to publish peer-reviewed single observations with the integration of cutting-edge social media features, thus engaging the community to provide post-publication review both by the experts and other scientists/readers. ScienceMatters will thus incentivize honest science by: single observations, data driven science and real-time publishing; lowering threshold for publishing; paid peer-review, short peer-reviewing process and fast dissemination of knowledge.

Lawrence RajendranProf. Lawrence Rajendran is a renowned expert in the cell biology of Alzheimer’s disease. He is one of the founding members of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) and served on the board as the Steering committee member. On the social side, he is also the founder of Raise.Rural, a non-profit organization dedicated to support rural students in India to pursue research. He has won many awards and honors including the European Young Scientist Grand Prize, German Neuroscience Society’s Schilling’s prize, the Breuer Award, the National Medal of Honor and the President’s Prize by the Govt. of Panama, German Alzheimer’s Hirnliga’s Steinberg-Krupp Prize, Boehringer Ingelheim Apopis Prize, European Neuroscience Society Award and a University gold medalist in both Bachelors and Masters. Rajendran featured in the 2009 World’s top 100 Scientists. He is also the founder and Chairman of ScienceMatters, the next generation Open-Access and Open Science journal platform that publishes single observations in science.


6.50pm « Showing your working: a how to guide to reproducible research » by Kirstie Whitaker

Présentation to download (PPT- 7’799 Ko)                                                                       

This talk will discuss the perceived and actual barriers experienced by researchers attempting to do reproducible research, and give practical guidance on how they can be overcome. It will include suggestions on how to make your code available and usable for others (including a strong suggestion to document it clearly so you don’t have to reply to lots of email questions from future users). Resources will be persistently available after the talk and all audience members will leave knowing there is something they can do to step towards making their research reproducible.

Kirstie WhitakerKirstie Whitaker is a Research Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute (London, UK). She completed her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley in 2012 and holds a BSc in Physics from the University of Bristol and an MSc in Medical Physics from the University of British Columbia. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge from 2012 to 2017. Dr Whitaker uses magnetic resonance imaging to study child and adolescent brain development and is a passionate advocate for reproducible neuroscience. She is an Fulbright scholarship alumna and 2016/17 Mozilla Fellow for Science. Kirstie was named, with her collaborator Petra Vertes, as a 2016 Global Thinker by Foreign Policy magazine.


7.15pm Aperitif

Wednesday 27th September: Research Data

6pm Introduction

6.10pm « Championing through action – innovative ways of engaging researchers with Open Science » by Marta Teperek

Présentation to download (PPT- 10’803 Ko)                                                                       

Increasingly institutions across the world are looking for innovative ways of effectively engaging researchers with Open Science agenda to help facilitate cultural change. Efforts are needed to help win hearts and minds as mandates alone are ineffective. In this talk Marta will highlight some examples of innovative ways for communication and engagement with researchers from the University of Cambridge, TU Delft and other institutions.

Marta TeperekDr Marta Teperek did a PhD in molecular biology at the University of Cambridge. Having first-hand experience of problems that researchers face on a day-to-day basis, with the journals’ impact factor, and not the quality of the research process, dictating the future of their academic career, Marta decided to get professionally involved in advocating for Open Research and for better reproducibility in science. In 2015 she joined the University of Cambridge and led the creation and development of the Research Data Management Facility, supporting researchers at the University of Cambridge in good management and sharing of Research Data. While at Cambridge, Marta initiated and overseen the Data Champions programme and the Open Research Pilot. In August 2017 Marta moved to TU Delft in Netherlands, where she now leads the Research Data Stewardship project.


6.30pm « Data Publishing: easy, comprehensive, with impact » by Sünje Dallmeier-Tiessen

Présentation online                                                                                                                       

Sharing data and getting credit for it? Not unheard of these days. Thanks to quite a few tools and services out there, it became much easier to share data in a reliable way. The presentation will showcase a few places or workflows that make it easy to document and publish data in a way so that others can access, understand, assess and reuse the data. Knowing that it takes a little bit of time to take such steps, more and more workflows emerge that help getting some credit or visibility for such shared materials. That’s why particular emphasis will be given to tools like ORCID that can help bringing the own research output, from papers to data and code, into the spotlight.

Sünje Dallmeier TiessenSünje Dallmeier-Tiessen is the data coordinator in the Scientific Information Service at CERN. Together with her colleagues she builds services to enable researchers to practice Open Science and to take steps towards reproducible research. As part of this the CERN Open Data Portal ( emerged and a new service called CERN Analysis Preservation is under development. Both pay particular attention to the challenge of future reusability and reproducibility of research outputs, e.g. through easy and comprehensive preservation of data, code etc… She holds a PhD in Information Science. Her previous positions in publishing and research management made her realize the need to build Open Science « workflows » that incentivize sharing and that integrate well into research environments. Hence, she co-chaired the RDA Data Publishing Workflows group and serves on several boards of national and international bodies. This work, together with a research stay at IQSS at Harvard University in 2015, enabled her to study data publishing practices beyond disciplinary boundaries.


6.50pm « How Open Science is changing the world, and how you can take part » by Lucia Prieto

Présentation to download (ZIP – 20’315 Ko)                                                                     

Every scientist is familiar with Open Scientific Software such as ImageJ or R-project. Developed by contributors worldwide, these freely available programs revolutionised the way scientists could analyse their data. But, what about hardware? If the community can build their own scientific software, the step to scientific hardware (“Open Labware”) is but a small one. I will talk about how openly sharing information is changing the world with a special focus on Open Labware. I will present examples from various initiatives and projects, including my own experience working with African scientists to promote affordable bio-medical research and teaching in the continent through a non-profit organisation I founded. Importantly, I hope to convince you that everyone can contribute and make a difference independently of your level of expertise, and I will introduce a few essential tools to get started.

Lucia PrietoLucia Prieto is a FEBS postdoctoral fellow at CIG in Lausanne University. Her current research focuses on the genetic basis of olfactory pathway evolution in Drosophila. She will soon move to London, UK to start her group at the Francis Crick Institute. She obtained her B.A. from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, where she did her research thesis on olfactory processing in flies. After a summer working on vision evolution in box jellyfish at Lund University, she joined the University of Cambridge for her PhD. She co-founded TReND in Africa, an organisation supporting sustainable development through higher education and scientific innovation.



7.15pm Aperitif

Thursday 28th September: Code and tools

6pm Introduction

6.10pm « A computable scholarly record » by Victoria Stodden

Présentation to download (PDF- 13’548 Ko)                                                                       

The use of data and computationally-enabled methods are now pervasive across the scholarly research enterprise. In this talk I will outline the nature of these changes and how they are affecting scholarly dissemination. I will discuss tools, policy, and other solutions that are moving the community toward a vision (or visions) of a computable scholarly record.

Victoria StoddenVictoria Stodden is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA and an affiliate scholar with Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. She was previously an assistant professor of Statistics at Columbia University. She completed her PhD in statistics and her law degree at Stanford University. Her research is focused on reproducibility issues in computational science, including developing standards of openness for data and code sharing, and resolving legal and policy barriers. She co-founded, an open platform for disseminating the code and data associated with published results.


6.30pm « Open Science: what can we expect from the lawyers? » by Michel Jaccard

Présentation to download (PPT- 1’267 Ko)                                                                       

This presentation will discuss the alleged positive impact of increased intellectual property protection and increase in innovation, and present the legal challenges and opportunities raised by creative commons, open access initiatives, and open source software licensing.

Michel JaccardMichel Jaccard is the founder of corporate and technology boutique law firm id est avocats, based in Lausanne. He has been involved in the last 20 years in more than a hundred corporate finance and M&A deals in Switzerland and abroad, acting for entrepreneurs and owners, venture capital and private equity firms, industrial buyers and financial sponsors. Along his corporate expertise, he sits on several advisory boards and regularly helps C-level execs and board members of SMEs and global brands navigate the world of advanced technologies, distributed computing, Open Source and Open Access, data protection and cybersecurity, and more generally manage their online presence and digital transformation. Michel holds a JD and PhD from the University of Lausanne and an LLM from Columbia Law School (Stone Scholar, Fulbright grantee). He is admitted to practice in Switzerland and New York, and has been highly recommended in Corporate/M&A, Technology, Media/Telecoms and Intellectual Property for the past 10 years by leading guides such as Chambers and Legal500.

6.50pm Closing remarks and open discussion by Luc Henry

Présentation to download (PPT- 6’095 Ko)                                                                       

Luc HenryLuc Henry is a Scientific Advisor to Martin Vetterli since January 2017. One of his missions at EPFL is to elaborate an Open Science policy and implementation plan for the Institution. In 2016, he was in a similar position at the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). He is a chemist and molecular biologist by training. Some would call it chemical biology. While spending ten years doing research in Switzerland, Sweden, England and Germany, he became increasingly interested in science policy, science communication and innovation. Until 2014, he was a regular contributor to The Conversation, and in 2015, he became the managing editor of European science magazine Technologist, also serving on the Editorial Board of a number of conferences, including in the Lift series. He is the co-founder of Hackuarium, an open laboratory dedicated to the promotion of open and citizen science. Luc earned his DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford, UK. 

7.15pm Aperitif