Research Remix

August 5, 2010

Sharing data makes our shoulders broader

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Heather Piwowar @ 11:27 pm

Here is a presentation intro I’ve used recently in talks about data sharing and reuse.  I post it as a reference to thank those who share their Flickr photos under Creative Commons licenses.
Feel free to reuse! (obviously with Flickr attributions intact and license choices respected)

If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants, said Isaac Newton and others before him.

While historians speculate that Isaac Newton was actually being sarcastic,

most of us would agree that science progresses by standing on shoulders of those who came before. Or by kneeling on their backs.  Or clambering up their work any other way we can.

photo credit: jsmjr on Flickr

I suggest that when we share our research output, not only as published research descriptions, but also in the form of open datasets and methods, we are, in effect, making our shoulders broader.

It's Hot Outside

photo credit: camilleharrington on Flickr

All of a sudden, a lot more people can build on our work.


Photo credit: rkuhnau on flickr

Researchers can climb higher than otherwise possible,

photo credit: conform on Flickr

and jump up and down on our findings to make sure they are really stable.


photo credit: rkuhnau on flickr

It allows contributions from places we may never have expected,

Monkey shoulder, and other fine single malts

photo credit: Zemlinki! on Flickr

and investigators can explore places they never could have on their own.


photo credit: Matthew and Tracie on Flickr

In short, our broad-shouldered research can make a contribution that far exceeds its original role.

Four Poles

photo credit: druclimb on Flickr

Edited 2010/08/09 to add concluding photo.


  1. I wish we’d had this at the Dryad booth at Evolution! maybe next year….

    Comment by Peggy Schaeffer — August 11, 2010 @ 4:35 am

  2. Heather — this is both clever and insightful!

    nice work.. indeed. jane

    Comment by jane — August 11, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

  3. […] Sharing data makes our shoulders broader. […]

    Pingback by a future where data attribution Counts #idcc « Research Remix — December 7, 2011 @ 1:40 am

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