Open Science

In defense of public scientific-data sharing: a NeuroMat op-ed

by Claudia Domingues Vargas and Fabio Kon

In recent years, much of the international scientific community, with the support of governmental agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) from the United States, the European Commission and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in Brazil, have advocated for what has been called "open science." Aspects of this new model of sharing scientific information are threefold. Firstly, scientific results are to be spread out through “open-access” vehicles, so that any scientist and citizen could be granted an easy access to discoveries , regardless of their background or financial situation. Secondly, tools used in the scientific process should also be shared openly; since much of science today depends on computational tools, this indicates that they should be made available as “free software.” Lastly, research data must be shared as "open data:" not only should the raw and processed data be openly available, but also format descriptions and meanings of such data (what we may called metadata) should be widely distributed. When such information is collected from humans, special caution is required in the distributing, respecting the privacy and anonymity of those involved. One of the pillars of experimental science is its reproducibility. And science only becomes reproducible if the data and tools used in the experiments, simulations and analysis are also openly and freely provided.

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The Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics is hosted by the University of São Paulo and funded by FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation).

 

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