Open Science Festival 2017

The Open Science Festival 2017 was indeed an open meeting between industries, researchers, students, and politicians.  The weather even agreed – this was indeed a festival, rain and all. Luckily, this festival took place indoor and not in a tent.

From early morning hours, busy activity was found in the foyer of the iNANO building at Aarhus University. Excitement and organization in a fantastic mix. The 9 Open Science students had concluded their ordinary exams, but today was the final conclusion on their Open Science Projects – in front of 150 people(!) including potential future employers, supervisors and other students interested in this new way of science.

A tour of SPOMAN open science

The morning program was a small teaser for doing open science. During the first 15 minutes, representatives of all three parts of the SPOMAN Open Science collaboration was heard. The open science students had organized the Open Science Festival and welcomed all the attendants. Kim Daasbjerg, professor at Aarhus University and one of the founders of SPOMAN Open Science, presented his thoughts on why open science is an important new tool for universities. How the open science, as a research playground, is a natural complement to traditional research collaborations. In the SPOMAN Open Science collaboration, wild ideas are formed and tested as basic research projects based on industrial needs of the future. By sharing our knowledge, ideas, and experiences the basic research conducted on the open science platform becomes both relevant and pioneering.
Susie-Ann Spiegelhauer, R&D manager at Accoat, SP Group, and co-founder of the SPOMAN Open Science collaboration, presented why open science is important in the industry and how she sees this type of collaboration adding value to the innovation found in the industry today. SPOMAN Open Science is more than a playground for researchers, it is a platform where ongoing research is made available to the industry, where input on industrial challenges and needs are relevant and used to add an extra layer to the basic research – the core of the universities.

Sharing Open Science Experiences

SPOMAN Open Science is not the only way to open up science. The trend of doing science openly is seen all over the world, thus even though SPOMAN Open Science is unique in the collaboration and project design, sharing data is seen elsewhere. As the idea behind open science, is sharing and learning from the experience of others, it was only natural to invite speakers from other open science initiatives.

Courtney Soderberg from the American Center for Open Science (COS) gave a very inspiring talk on the topic of opening your science to the world. How this change of practice could eventually alter the way science is conducted to focus more on quality and reproducibility than on “the good story”. And how the publications should be more available to the public. When she first started talking about leaving the research plans and data freely available on the internet, displeased mumbling was heard in the auditorium – not everyone was pleased with this idea! However, after listening to Courtney and her reasons for doing this, after hearing her argue that even the high-ranking journals were getting onboard, shoulders went down and heads were nodding – we could all agree that the quality, reproducibility and integrity of the science should outshined the need of sensation.

Open Science is not just about sharing scientific data, it is also about contributing and about dissemination. In the ScienceAtHome initiative lead by associate professor Jacob Sherson, science is conducted not only in the lab but also in homes, offices, and schools. ScienceAtHome seeks to collect human data to build a quantum computer. Thus, the ScienceAtHome initiative is all about collaborating, participating and reaching higher together – exactly like SPOMAN Open Science seeks to do.

The tour around SPOMAN Open Science had one very valuable lesson for us all: Open Science is not just the new buzz word – it is a crucial supplement to the traditional closed research conducted on both universities and in the industry! Open Science is conducted in many ways over the planet, but the common factor amongst all open science initiatives is; together we think bigger, smarter, and reach higher!

SPOMAN Open Science has reached higher

The SPOMAN Open Science Collaboration was started in 2016 in a small group of researchers and companies. Since then the number of people interested in the initiative has only increased, leading up to the festival today, were 150 interested students, researcher, companies, and even the rector of Aarhus University, the dean of science and technology at Aarhus University, and group leader from Radikale Venstre and former Minister for Research, Innovation, and Higher Education Morten Østergaard were present. The support for adding a new way of science to both the Danish universities and the academia-industry collaborations, is found at many levels and hopefully will just keep on growing.


Contributions to Open Science comes in many forms

During the afternoon session of the Open Science Festival, the first Open Science Students presented the work they have been doing for the past semester and in collaboration with company representatives from ECCO sko A/S, VESTAS Wind Systems A/S, NEWTEC Engineering A/S, SP Group A/S, and RadiSurf ApS, examples of the future industrial applications from the basic research projects were presented. Bjarke Jørgensen, head of research at NEWTEC Engineering, also gave a presentation on how open student projects can contribute to research done directly at a company. At NEWTEC Engineering students from University of Southern Denmark are building an open source air STM to benefit both companies and research groups interested in using the STM technology. The STM project is open for everyone to contribute to and in the end, gain from.

But also projects not found on the Open Science Framework were presented by students from both Aarhus University and the University of Southern Denmark. In the SPOMAN Open Science Collaboration all knowledge, data, and results are welcome – the more we share the more we learn! Thus, even though only part of your projects can be shared openly, you are still welcome in the SPOMAN Open Science collaboration. To ensure everyone the chance of sharing their findings, all festival visitors were invited to bring a poster for the poster-session. The poster-session hosted 26 posters representing both student-projects and company presentations and made room for discussing new collaborations, asking questions, and suggesting wild ideas. Thus, a day of open science and collaborations was concluded in just the right spirit!

Thank you for making the first open science festival a great success – see you (and many more) next year!