Love Data Week Guest blogger: Barriers to open data sharing

The 2014 Ebola outbreak mobilized groups of researchers across the world to sequence viral genomes and share data providing information crucial to “designing effective diagnostics, vaccines and antibody-based therapies” [1].  However uncertainties around ownership of data, intellectual property rights, patient consent and poor management of data all make access to the source of truth very difficult and often essential data is not available to research community working on epidemics.    QUT PhD candidate Anisa Rowhani-Farid, from the School of Public Health and Social Work, discusses some of these barriers to open data sharing in her guest blog today. 

[1]    Yozwiak, N. L., Schaffner, S. F., Sabeti, P. C.: Data sharing: Make outbreak research open access. Nature, 2015, 518:477–479, doi:10.1038/518477a

My desire to pursue research in this field began when I was a junior bench scientist some 10 years ago, conducting anti-malarial drug research. I was confronted with the commercial aspect of scientific research.  I learned about the institutional arrangements between industry, academia, the community, or “consumers”.  I also learned about how intellectual property, patents, and funding arrangements play a critical yet limiting role in contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Anisa Rowhani-Farid

PhD Candidate Anisa Rowhani-Farid

It became clear to me that scientific research is driven and, more often than not, pressured by the funding available from government and industry, and that these relationships are primarily based on the conception that scientific knowledge is generated through research that views knowledge as a commodity, distributed at a cost to other researchers and most importantly, populations that might need open access to that knowledge.

As I read more, I wondered what happened to all the public money that was spent on health and medical research. I read Chalmers and Glasziou’s (2009) paper on research waste, as well as the series that was published in the Lancet in 2014 called ‘Research: increasing value, reducing waste’.  I learned that around 85% of the world’s spending on health and medical research is wasted per year, and a contributing factor was that the findings of medical studies cannot be reproduced by other researchers and so seemingly successful medical breakthroughs are thus unverifiable [1, 2]. This reproducibility crisis in health and medical research made me think of the way in which scientific knowledge progresses.  I was fascinated by the paper written by John Ioannidis in 2005 where he concluded through simulations that most published findings in the scientific discourse are false and misleading [3, 4].

If most of what is claimed in the scientific literature is false, and if scientists are adopting malpractices because of the pressure to commercialise so-called ‘medical breakthroughs’, then how deep will the cultural change have to be for scientists to conduct high-quality research with integrity, and share all their findings, positive or negative? This question has motivated my doctorate of philosophy.

  1. Chalmers I, Glasziou P: Avoidable waste in the production and reporting of research evidence. The Lancet 2009, 374(9683):86-89.
  2. Chalmers I, Bracken M, Djulbegovic B, Garattini S, Grant J, Gülmezoglu M, Howells D, Ioannidis J, Oliver S: How to increase value and reduce waste when research priorities are set. The Lancet 2014, 383(9912):156-165.
  3. Ioannidis J: How to Make More Published Research True. PLoS Med 2014, 11(10):e1001747.
  4. Ioannidis JPA: Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLOS Medicine 2005, 2(8):e124.

Watch this video (YouTube 2m8s) from Anisa Rowhani-Farid and follow her @AnisaFarid on Twitter.

Anisa Rowhani-Farid (YouTube video, 2m8s)If you’re a researcher, we’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment below on your data story.

Visit the Love Data Week blog each day for stories, resources and activities and if you would like to join the conversation via Twitter #lovedata18 #qutlibrary

 

Love Data Week 2018

It’s Love Data Week!

From the 12th to the 16th of February, along with other academic and research libraries, data archives and organisations, QUT Library is celebrating the value and importance of research data, which we believe are the foundation of the scholarly record and crucial for advancing our knowledge of the world around us.

The theme for the 2018 social media event is ‘data stories’ including :

Stories about data
Telling stories with data
Connected conversations
We are data

Anisa Rowhani-Farid, from the School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health who’s completing a PhD Towards a culture of open science and data sharing in health and medical research at QUT has this to say about data and reproducible science:

Efforts are underway by the global meta-research community to strengthen the reliability of the scientific method [1].  Data sharing is an indispensable part of the movement towards science that is open; where scientific truth is not a questionable commodity, but is easily accessible, replicable, and verifiable [2].  The cultural shift towards reproducible science is complex and it calls for a twofold change in the attitudes of individual researchers toward reproducibility, and the leadership provided by the systems and services that support scientific research.  As such, journals, universities, government bodies, and funders are key players in promoting this culture.  Transparency and reproducibility are elements central to strengthening the scientific method, and data provides the key to scientific truth [3].”

 

  1. Ioannidis JPA, Fanelli D, Dunne DD, Goodman SN: Meta-research: Evaluation and Improvement of Research Methods and Practices. PLoS Biol 2015, 13(10):e1002264.
  2. Reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research: improving research practice. In.: The Academy of Medical Sciences; 2015.
  3. Iqbal SA, Wallach JD, Khoury MJ, Schully SD, Ioannidis JPA: Reproducible Research Practices and Transparency across the Biomedical Literature. PLoS Biol 2016, 14(1):e1002333.

If you’re a researcher, leave a comment below on your data story.

Visit the Love Data Week blog each day for stories, resources and activities and if you would like to join the conversation via Twitter #lovedata18  @qutlibrary

Go for gold!

The Winter Olympics start this week, the same as Orientation Week here at QUT. What a coincidence! Just like the Winter Olympians, to succeed at university you must prepare and work hard. QUT Library is offering several Library 101 workshops so you can prepare yourself for the upcoming semester. Practice your referencing, polish your searching skills and discover all of the services and resources available at QUT Library.

If you are aiming for a gold medal this semester, you can also have a look at study skills workshops and library tours. These will help you develop your study skills and, you guessed it, prepare yourself for getting the most out of your classes and assignments.

Preparing for university, and the Olympics, also means thinking about your health and wellbeing. QUT Library’s video streaming service, Kanopy, has over 300 videos related to sport and fitness. Plus you can watch Dr. Anna Baranowsky explain How to create a wellness mind map or find The Secret of Life Wellness.

You can also contact HiQ to get assistance as you (just like the Winter Olympians!) strive for gold this semester!

You Go Geek Girl!

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

A little over two years ago,  in a bid to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

QUT Library proudly supports this day and to celebrate we’ve put together a few nice reads and some films to watch to get your Geek Girl on.

READ…

If you’re looking for a new squad, check out Leslie Simon’s Geek girls unite: how fangirls, bookworms, indie chicks, and other misfits are taking over the world.  With illustrations by Nan Lawson.

If you’ve got a thing for young adult literature, or a budding geek girl in your life, you might try the bestselling and award winning Geek Girl series by Holly Smale.

It was a book before it was a movie!  Hidden Figures:  The American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Ladies in the laboratory III: South African, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian women in science, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries : a survey of their contributions  The women whose lives and work are discussed here range from natural history collectors and scientific illustrators of the early and mid-years of the 19th century to the first generation of graduates of the new colonial colleges and universities, by Mary R S Creese.

 

 

Academic Women in STEM Faculty: Views  beyond a decade after POWRE  This eBook looks at the major issues facing successful women in academic science, by Sue Rosser.

WATCH…

The Hidden Figures DVD:  As the US raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big in this 2016 movie.

These short and inspiring videos from the United Nations:

The story of Katherine Jin a young female scientist, her initial struggle to take part in science, and how her invention helps safeguard health workers. YouTube 3.53min.

Technology empowering women – Why the world needs women in technology – Atefeh Riaiazi YouTube 2.56min