BioMed Central Research Award for Open Data

June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

In May 2011, the winners of the 5th edition of BioMed Central Research Awards were announced in London. Part of the Microsoft Research initiative, the awards are offered for the following categories of scientific publications:  Best Case Report of the Year, Editor of the Year, Open Access Institution of the year, the Open Data Award as well as the Biology and Medicine Awards  for research.


The BioMed Central’s Open Data Award encourages data sharing and re-use, challenging the traditional ways of doing research and publishing within the scientific community. As stated on the official website, opening scientific data inevitably brings along debates on cultural acceptance and community access. However, these outstanding researchers have succeeded in adding value by adopting the Open Data philosophy; revolutionizing the way science is done.

The 2011 winners of the Open Data Award are Veli Vikberg, David R. Smith, and Jean-Luc Boevé, for the article How common is ecological speciation in plant-feeding insects? A ‘Higher’ Nematinae perspective’, in the field of ecological phylogenetics. By archiving the original set of data used for their research into an online appendix, the winning team from University of Eastern Finland became front-runners of Open Data. Starting with improving transparency of datasets, they took a first step towards creating the an open ‘meta-analysis’ – with the potential for different scientists of various expertise to access and compare different archived material.

More from  Veli Vikberg, David R. Smith, and Jean-Luc Boevé on the relevance of Open Data for the researcher as an individual and  for the scientific community as a whole, can be found under the title “On the unbearable lightness of mandatory data sharing”.

The panel of judges included Alex Wade (Microsoft Research) and OKF members of the Working Group on Open Data in Science, namely Rufus Pollock (OKF), Peter Murray-Rust (Murray-Rust Group, Cambridge), John Wilbanks (Creative Commons), Cameron Neylon (Open Access advocate), and Iain Hrynaszkiewicz (Journal Publisher, BioMed Central).

Sources: Official Biomed Central and the BioMed Open Access Central blog


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