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Sustainable Research through Open Scholarship

Monday, March 16, 2020; 12:00-12:30

Room MB 9A, 9th floor of the John Molson Building (MB) at 1450 Ave. Guy

Public and private funding of scholarship, including both research and development, amounted to close to US$ 1.7 trillion in 2018, ranking this sector roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product of the country in the 12th global position. Yet, costs are rising: much cutting-edge research requires ever more expensive equipment and time, as well as technical labour. How can we sustain and even increase our rate of discovery, when budgets do not increase proportionately? Beyond costs, there is now a strong push to reduce the environmental footprint of research.

In this talk, we will discuss the promise of Open Scholarship as a sustainable path forward for sharing scholarship more, doing it better, and doing it with less. Open Scholarship provides a new vision of research and teaching, emphasizing transparent and accessible data and knowledge that is developed and shared through collaborative networks (adapted from Nosek et al., 2015). For example, openly sharing data can reduce the need for new data collection, accelerating the ability to test new hypotheses. Openly sharing analysis code can enable the detection of errors as well as enable others to readily adapt analytics for incorporation in their own work. Large-scale collaborations enable groups of researchers to ask scholarly questions that cannot be answered by a single scholar or lab. Open course materials reduce the cost to students, and democratize learning by reducing financial barriers. Transitioning to an Open Scholarship model necessitates new tools, infrastructure, and ways of organizing data and knowledge. Moreover, an Open Scholarship revolution will only succeed if there are fundamental changes to disciplinary norms, whose reward structures often emphasize individual achievement over cooperation and sharing. Thus, realizing the vision of Open Scholarship will necessitate a massive transdisciplinary effort, ranging from Computer Scientists who can develop and implement the necessary information infrastructure and platforms, to Library Scientists who can develop systems to openly access and organize information, to Engineers who can develop appropriate data standards. Scholars in Sociology, Philosophy, Economics, Education and Communication are needed to understand cultural and human factors and overcome potential pitfalls. Scientists across all disciplines must determine how to embrace Open Scholarship in field-specific ways.

We argue that Concordia’s comprehensive strengths in each of these disciplines, as well as our collaborative culture and existing networks, can position us at the forefront of the Open  Scholarship revolution. Building on Concordia’s Open Educational Resources project, we argue that Concordia should expand our vision to all areas of Open Scholarship ranging from Open Data to Reproducible Research. In turn, our students and will benefit from training, and our researchers will benefit from new opportunities under an Open Scholarship framework.


All parts of the Sustainability and the Climate Crisis conference are free and open to the public but registration is required.

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