Research Remix

July 5, 2010

Evolution 2010 and iEvoBio recap

Filed under: conferences, openscience, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Heather Piwowar @ 9:19 am

As my first exposure to the field of evolution, attending Evolution 2010 and iEvoBio was drinking from a firehose. That said, it was a productive and enjoyable dousing. Highlights:

Slides from presentations that highlighted open science, data sharing and archiving, and reward structures:

  • Mike Whitlock: Data Archiving in Evolution info session, discussed motivation and details on the joint data archiving policy that will require data archiving across six journals starting next year (policy, slides)
  • Carl Boettiger: My experiment with open science: Why the benefits of sharing go beyond source code, a dynamic practical case study of how and why to do open science (slides)
  • Todd Vision: The Dryad Digital Repository: Published evolutionary data as part of the greater data ecosystem, motivation and overview for the new data repository for post-publication datasets in evolution and ecology (abstract and demo)
  • Rob Guralnick: Biodiversity Discovery and Documentation in the Information and Attention Age, keynote talk highlighting, in part, the value in sharing pre-publication data and the need to change our reward structures to value that contribution (slides)
  • Anne Thessen: New Biology: The Data Conservancy and Data Driven Discovery, an overview of the ambitious data conservancy project(website)
  • Jonathan Eisen: Phylogenomics of microbes: the dark matter of biology, keynote with some plugs for PLoS and project openness (slides)
  • Rutger Vos: TreeBASE2: Rise of the Machines, background on new machine-friendly interfaces to TreeBASE (slides) and demo

A few other presentations related to how we develop or communicate science:

  • Rod Page: Phyloinformatics in the age of Wikipedia, a talk on the value of realizing how people find science (slides)
  • Vincent Smith: Top-down and bottom-up informatics: who has the high ground?, powerful case studies of successful and unsuccessful projects (abstract)
  • Cynthia Parr: Community content building for evolutionary biology: Lessons learned from LepTree and Encyclopedia of Life, case studies on the relative strengths of different design approaches (abstract)
  • N. Dean Pentcheff: Copyrights and digitizing the systematic literature: the horror… the horror…, about why it is important and completely legal to assemble an open digital archive of phylogeny papers under fair use

We also had a very interesting iEvoBio Birds-of-a-Feather session on open science, data sharing and reuse, and data citations. There were about 10 of us in a wide-ranging and interesting discussion with diverse perspectives.

Overall the iEvoBio meeting was fun and useful: a very successful first year kickoff bringing together people with similar interests. Thanks to Hilmar Lapp and the other organizers for all of their work. Can’t wait to go next year and contribute to the theme of research openness.

Of course the meetings were also a very useful intro to the field of evolution itself. Sean Carron’s Gould prize lecture told the historical story of evolutionary theory: entertaining and informative, it was a fantastic start.  I also enjoyed the two award research lectures (though I wish they hadn’t overlapped with 5pm info sessions on Data Archiving and NESCent). The presentations and posters gave me a good high-level overview of what questions people are looking at, what kinds of data are produced and reused, what tools are developed, and what kinds of creativity and hard work required in designing effective experiments.

Finally, I made a number of contacts and spent some time with my NESCent and Dryad community, my local UBC community, and others interested in open data and open science within this domain… crucial given the remote nature of my postdoc.

Left now with oodles of disjoint notes, ideas, and enthusiasm for my next steps. Here we go!

ETA:  Want more info on iEvoBio?  Summary of online artifacts.

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