Opening up science

Open Science Community Eindhoven (OSC/e) is looking for new members. With assistant professor Pavlo Bazilinskyy at the helm and with the support of the university library, OSC/e is ready for a new series of meetings centered around open science. The aim is to share tips and to engage in discussions, says Kristina Korshunova, who is involved on behalf of the library. She stresses that everyone is welcome to join, including critics. “We aren’t a community of ‘believers.’”

photo iStock / DrAfter123

Open Science Community Eindhoven (OSC/e) was founded four years ago by Stephan Heunis, who was a PhD student at the department of Electrical Engineering at the time.  When he received his PhD and left TU/e, the university library took over the organization. However, a catalyst from the scientific community was sorely missed. Since this spring, that role has been in the hands of assistant professor Pavlo Bazilinskyy, whose work at Industrial Design includes automated vehicles cars.

The next step is to enlarge the community, which now has about seventy members, most of whom are PhD students. “But everyone is welcome: researchers as well as support staff members who work with open science,” open science specialist Kristina Korshunova says. She helps with the coordination of the community on behalf of the library.

No data?

To Pavlo Bazilinskyy, open science is a no brainer: “I’m from Ukraine, and there’s a parallel with how we judge the accuracy of news reports about the war. The general attitude is: ‘No video? No news.’ That’s also how I look at open science: ‘No data? No research.’ Or it does at least raise the question whether the researcher is trying to hide something.” He considers the sharing of scientific data a matter of principle: science is part of and belongs to society.

Bazilinskyy worked at a postdoc at TU Delft in the past, where he also focused on open science is his capacity of ‘data champion.’ “In Delft, I worked at Mechanical Engineering, and here in Eindhoven at Industrial Design, where more qualitative research takes place, comparatively speaking. I’ve noticed that making that type of data accessible is more complex than publishing figures and statistical material.”

But that doesn’t prevent him from what he jokingly refers to as ‘brainwashing’ his colleagues. Open science encompasses the entire research process, including open data, open (programming)code, open access publishing, open education and citizen science. “The biggest mistake that researchers make is not to apply open science from day zero.” That’s why Bazilinskyy teaches the PhD students under his supervision to make open science part of their thinking process from the outset. A large work document for a project in Word? Delete it and use a shared file instead.


Open science is gaining momentum. It’s included in TU/e’s strategy, and it’s one of the principles of recognition and rewards, Kristina Korshunova says. In addition, several funding bodies, including the EU, have made open science practices a condition for funding. “The general principle here at TU/e is: as open as possible, as closed as needed.”

Like other universities, TU/e has data stewards within its ranks whose task it is to help researchers make their work widely available. In addition, the PROOF program offers PhD students a one-day course on data management and open access publishing,


In short, there a lot happening with regard to open science. But Bazilinskyy and Korshunova find it regrettable that many initiatives often remain limited to individual departments. Therefore, OSC/e wants to provide peers with the opportunity to share practical tips and ideas university wide during meetings. The next such meeting is scheduled for early December.

People shouldn’t be afraid to ask uncomfortable questions. In fact, they are invited to do so. OSC/e is not a community of ‘believers,’ Korshunova says. “Our members bring important and critical points to the discussions.” Take open peer review for example, a review mechanism that involves the disclosure of one’s identity. A good idea in principle. But what if it could damage your career as a young researcher?


And then there’s the issue of how to reconcile open access with research projects carried out in collaboration with companies that have a commercial interest in the acquired knowledge. Still, Bazilinskyy believes that it’s only a matter of time before science ‘opens up’ completely. “Thanks to Instagram, the younger generation is used to sharing things and connecting to each other. Twenty years from now, people won’t be having discussions about ‘my’ and ‘your’ data any longer, everything will be shared.”

Check the OSC/e website for more information, for example on membership. Sign up here if you would like to be notified about the next meeting.

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