Success comes from sharing…let’s show it!

Open scholarship is growing at a rate that is cause for optimism. But we are far from widespread adoption of article, code, and data sharing practices. This is due, in part, to common concerns about the potential career harms. Students and early-career researchers are frequently bombarded by messages from peers and mentors that publishing in open access journals or publicly sharing their data will be detrimental to their career development. However, there is increasing evidence that practicing open scholarship does not have to be detrimental, but can in fact confer many benefits.

Anecdotal evidence, albeit not data, can be convincing in showing students and early-career researchers the potential benefits of sharing. People are moved by linking stories of success to real names and faces. Back in April of this year, I went looking for some of these stories. I sent out a tweet asking people for examples of collaborations arising from open access, open data, open science, and open source. And Twitter delivered, with a wide range of projects and stories, all benefiting from open scholarship. One of the most powerful examples came from professor Dorothy Bishop, who, after not finding a journal home for her manuscript, decided to publish it openly on her blog. She was subsequently contacted by another researcher, who expanded on her methods, and they went on to publish an article together – a publication that likely would not have existed without Dr. Bishop’s decision to be open. Her story has stuck with me, and seemed also to resonate with many who read the post.

Late in April of this year, at the first ARCS conference, we held a student and early-career researcher workshop and brainstormed ways to encourage young researchers to be more open with their work. We talked about all the negative messages students and ECRs hear daily, and decided it was time to tip the balance in favor of positive messages. We were convinced that stories of successful open scholarship were out there – we had seen and experienced the successes for ourselves – we just needed to find these people and give them a voice. We were fortunate enough to have some funds to put behind this and reward those with the best open scholarship success stories. ARCS partnered with The Winnower, which provided the perfect open platform on which people could publish and review these stories. And so the ARCS / The Winnower open scholarship competition was born!

We want your stories. Have you shared your analysis code and benefited from community contributions? Shared your data and found new collaborators? Published openly and garnered media attention for your work? Posted a preprint and been invited to speak at a conference? Success stories span the spectrum from small to large victories, and we want them all. Stories like these inspire people, and give other researchers the confidence to be open as well.

Great entries are already rolling in. Jon Tennant wrote about his journey into open science, including how sharing his research has led to opportunities to write for online media, television interviews, and invitations to international conferences. Juan Pablo Alperin described how his contributions to an open source project launched his career, leading first to a job, then a PhD, and now defining his research program. Bastian Greshake recounted how he became the Mark Zuckerburg of open source genetics, as an open project he launched led to awards, funding, publications, speaking invitations, and more.

We’re sure there are many more researchers out there with similar success stories. The more stories we get, the stronger the inspiration for other researchers, so please share yours. Details on the competition can be found below. Looking forward to reading all the great entries!


ARCS official announcement: (Details also available via The Winnower)

There is a growing body of evidence that open access, open data, and open methodologies accelerate discovery and expand access to research results. However, for open approaches to science and scholarship to be widely adopted, sharing one’s research early and openly must explicitly benefit career success, especially for the next generation of researchers.

We believe that this is already the case, and to prove it, ARCS and The Winnower are launching a project to capture and publish research communication success stories that are rooted in open practices.  We want inspiring, evidence-driven examples that demonstrate the connections between open digital scholarship and success as a student or early career researcher.

Tell us how open access, open source, data sharing, blogging, or other open science and scholarship approaches helped you find your mentor, get your postdoc, secure funding, launch a business, get invited to present at a conference, or otherwise helped you succeed!

All stories will be submitted and immediately published via The Winnower.  A committee of students, researchers, librarians, academic administrators, open access publishers, and entrepreneurs will review submissions and award a $1,000 prize to the most compelling essay, based on the quality of the story and the success of the evidence presented in demonstrating the value of open.  A second prize of $1,000 will be awarded to a crowdsourced reader favorite.  All reviews and comments will be open and archived.  The winners will be announced during Open Access Week 2015.

How you share your research should contribute to your success, be it in the lab, classroom, industry, or garage.  The strategies and successes this project will collect and reward will support the transition to a more open and productive scholarly communication system by providing research sharing roadmaps for scientists and scholars, and evidence of the positive influence of early and open sharing on career success.  Ultimately these success stories can be mined and applied to benefit educational and policy efforts, as well as the work of libraries, publishers, and any others who are working to improve scholarly communication. More importantly, however, we hope these stories will inspire the scholarly community to practice the many facets of open, while simultaneously persuading skeptics that what is good for the community is also good for the individual.

Share your story!

To submit your open success story, follow the Submit A Paper link from the Winnower’s home page. Use ARCS2015 as a keyword, so your submission is included in the project collection and considered for a prize.  The final version of your story will be assigned a DOI and remain open. Please submit your story by October 5, 2015 to be considered for a prize.

Your 750 – 1,000 word submission should include:

  • A description of your open science or scholarship activities.
  • An explanation of how those activities positively affected your career, science, or scholarship.
  • Evidence of the positive impacts you described.

Submissions will be evaluated for their “inspiration factor”, the compelling nature of the evidence, the quality of the writing, and the impact of the activities on personal goals, science, or scholarship.


Header image credit: David Lofink via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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