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10,000 #OpenScience Tweets

- March 20, 2014 in Media, Research, Tools

We have collected 10,000+ tweets using the #openscience hashtag on Twitter, and invite volunteers to help analyse the data. The twelve most-retweeted tweets are embedded below.

Happily, just over 4,600 accounts have participated in the Open Science community with its eponymous hashtag, in this span. The 10,000 tweets have accrued over ten weeks. Our own @openscience on Twitter has tweeted most, over 600 times at the hashtag, as well as having received the most retweets and @ mentions, over 8,000 in these 10,000.

We have modified the vis which came with the data via the satisfying TAGS effort shared by Martin Hawksey. We added looks at the numbers of mentions and of mentions per tweets for top tweeters, and rankings of top tweets for the past ten weeks to Martin’s default views. We will continue collecting tweets, but do note that in another month or so, we will reach Google Docs limits e.g. on numbers of cells. We will use additional sheets, so links to all data will have changed, just how depending on when you are reading this post. Ask us @openscience on Twitter.

Help wanted

More could be done; won’t you help? Leave a reply below or ping us @openscience on Twitter if you need edit access to the sheet itself but we would like to see data and analyses in other tools as well. Our work to this point is only to get something started.

Top #openscience tweets of the past ten weeks







The above list is not dynamic. The data collected and displayed here, however are dynamic and refresh themselves hourly.

Not all tweets which are about Open Science include the #openscience hashtag. In a perfectly semantic world, they would and when they can, they really should. It has helped to form a community among the 4,600+ accounts participating in these ten weeks and many others in recent years. A couple reasons the hashtag might not be used in a relevant tweet include the character limit on tweets and lack of awareness of hashtags or of the term Open Science.

We take our organising and leadership role seriously at @openscience on Twitter, an account shared by many in the community. We have a simple policy that all our tweets should be related to Open Science. Even at our account, not all our tweets include the #openscience hashtag, particularly as we discuss related concerns such as Citizen Science or Open Access. An example tweet from the time frame considered here, related to Open Science but not hashtagged as such is below. In this case, the limit on tweet length and the topic led to including #openaccess, not #openscience:


The most retweeted, Open Science related tweet of all time, so far as we know, did not use the #openscience hashtag but was lovely. From the Lord of Dance and Prince of Swimwear:


The Global Young Academy (GYA) embraces Open Science movement

- November 28, 2012 in Announcements, Media


Berlin, 22 November 2012

The Global Young Academy  today issued a position statement that identifies obstacles that currently stand in the way of giving free access to scientific results and data, and advocates ways forward that will transform scientific research into a truly global endeavour.

The GYA calls for scientific results to be made freely available for scientists around the world and for future generations. In addition, funding bodies should adequately recognise work published in open access journals and online, and moreover recognise and encourage the development of innovative Open Science projects. Beyond making data available, a long-term strategy for data storage and maintenance needs to be developed.

“Young researchers can make significant contributions to the set-up, development and maintenance of platforms for open access”, Sabina Leonelli from the University of Exeter in the UK, one of the lead authors of the position statement, points out. “They are typically strongly committed to global collaboration and a culture of sharing resources and results.”

The lack of access to publicly funded research is a major issue for researchers based in developing countries. Publishers and funding agencies should be encouraged to work towards a model that provides them with access free of charge.

The Global Young Academy feels that the broad aims of the Open Science movement are in the best interest of young scientists, and in the best interest of science itself.

About GYA

The Global Young Academy, founded in 2010, is the voice of young scientists around the world. Members are chosen for their demonstrated excellence in scientific achievement and commitment to civil society. Currently there are 172 members from 54 countries.

For more information:

Bernard Slippers, GYA co-chair (South Africa);, tel: +27-12-420-2463

Rees Kassen, GYA co-chair (Canada);, tel: +1 613 562-5800 x6978

Heidi Wedel, GYA Managing Director (Germany);, tel: +49 30 20370 631

Learn more at:

Open Access Discussed on International Radio

- August 20, 2012 in Media, Research

Last Friday (17/08/12), representing the Open Knowledge Foundation, I had the pleasure of discussing the new Research Councils UK (RCUK) plan for all UK publicly-funded research to be published Open Access, on a special half hour Voice of Russia UK broadcast radio discussion.

I have written about this policy before and am very supportive of it, just as I am with Open Access in academia in general. I personally believe it will aid transparency and equality in research – so that no researcher has an unfair advantage over another through greater/easier access to vital research literature (just one of many worthy benefits arising from Open Access). But there are certainly also vocal opponents to this plan – mostly those with vested interests in keeping the obscene profits of the traditional subscription access publishing system alive (which commonly generate >30% profit margins largely derived from the taxpayer-spending of the world’s research libraries on journal subscriptions). Others express vague and often unspecified “concerns” about Open Access and further still many academics are notably apathetic towards it, or are even proudly agnostic on the issue.

Thus a publicly-broadcast discussion of this new open policy is well warranted.

No secret science

The members of the discussion panel included Rita Gardner, the Director of the Royal Geographical Society, noted for her concerns about the potential effects of Open Access on UK Learned Society income and revenue [paywalled link]; Ross Mounce, Panton Fellow promoting open data in science (myself) from the Open Knowledge Foundation; Bjorn Brembs, Professor at the Department of Genetics at the University of Leipzig, noted critic of for-profit publishers and their lack of ‘value-add’ amongst other issues; and Timothy Gowers, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, instigator of the popular academic-led boycott of the for-profit publisher Elsevier.

The ensuing discussion was ably guided by VoiceofRussia radio presenter Daniel Cinna, and recorded by a backroom team with an impressively professional studio setup (Timothy & Bjorn were joining the debate via phone from abroad almost seemlessly, whilst Rita and I were in the London studio). As noted by Rita off-air, it would have been nice to have had a publisher representative in the discussion to add their unique viewpoint but apparently the VoR production team had asked, but no for-profit publisher they had asked was willing to take part. So one cannot attribute any blame to the VoR team if the discussion panel lacked representational balance.

I won’t say anything about the discussion itself, only that you should listen to it here if you are at all interested in the future of science, and the benefits of the new RCUK Open Access policy.

About Voice of Russia (adapted from their own website):

The Voice of Russia is the world’s oldest international broadcaster and is among the world’s top five radio broadcasters today which include the BBC, the Voice of America, Deutsche Welle and Radio France International. The London-based team produces programs for VoR that bring our listeners a Russian perspective on our two countries and the world. VoR broadcasts to 160 countries in 38 languages using short and medium waves, FM, satellite and the global communications network. In London we are now also available online and via DAB radio. We aim to welcome a new British audience to our 109 million listeners worldwide.

Sir John Sulston Interview on BBC Radio 4

- December 8, 2011 in Media

Sir John Sulston (PLoS CC-BY 2.5)

The BBC have recently profiled the lives of various scientists in a Radio 4 series ‘Living the Scientific Life’. The latest episode featured John Sulston, a strong advocate and supporter of open data in science. You can listen to the full episode on the series website.

Sulston played a major role in the public Human Genome Project (HGP) consortium as Director of the Sanger Centre where much of the sequencing was performed. He discusses their race with the privately funded effort by Celera to release the full human genome sequence.

Aspects of openness are emphasised throughout the programme, open collaboration and data sharing being at the heart of the HGP consortium. Sulston describes the race as ‘serious…and it was about ownership.’ 21:49

Celera planned to make the genome data proprietary and although they later agreed to provide it following their publication of the genome in Science, this was a long time coming. The public consortium released all their data as they went along and allowed anyone (including Celera) to make use of it – which thousands of scientists did and continue to do. Access to data is paramount for Sulston, there were many other arguments happening behind the scenes but ‘None of this matters, there is only one thing that matters and that’s the issue of data release.’ 20:00

He strongly opposes the idea of anyone owning or patenting genetic sequence data ‘This is the basic information of biology and the idea of locking it up and renting it out piecemeal… is a business model that is flawed and it failed.’ On the situation of gene patents, which he states are misused, Sulston calls for scientists to oppose the current status quo:

‘This is a legal problem, it’s not really a science problem. We should not collectively be willing to subscribe to it. If we all of us refused to subscribe to this so called real world then it would be different.’ 26:00

If you agree, the working group are involved in several projects looking to build tools, apps and guidelines for open data and openness in science so do get in touch!

Image from PLoS article doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020225.g002

Open Research Reports Trailer

- November 9, 2011 in events, Media

Find out what Open Research Reports are about and why they’re needed:

Open Research Reports: Making data available to everyone from Open Knowledge Foundation on Vimeo.

CC-BY-SA 3.0