Open Science Policy Sprint

Hi GOSH Community,

As part of the Wilson Center Science and Technology Innovation Program, I’m working with the Federation of American Scientists and the Center for Open Science on an initiative to support the Year of Open Science and help envision the future of open science policy in the US. I hope you’ll consider submitting something, and also share with your networks!

The Open Science Policy Sprint will crowdsource high-quality ideas for US federal open science policy. The goal is to surface innovative, actionable proposals that can help produce a more open and inclusive scientific enterprise. We’ll be working closely with NASA’s Transform to Open Science (TOPS) Mission, presenting proposals at their convening in Q1 of calendar year 2024 to inform government action on open science and highlight transformative ideas in open science policy. Our focus areas for the policy sprint include:

  • Enhancing the transparency, accessibility, and rigor of scientific research
  • Building a more inclusive and diverse scientific enterprise
  • Creating platforms for participation and co-creation between scientists and society
  • Encouraging non-traditional scientific contributions and career paths
  • Enabling clear, rigorous, and up-to-date communication of knowledge
  • Supporting the development and sustainability of open source innovations

Submissions are due by October 23. For selected ideas, contributors will have the opportunity to collaborate with our team and external experts to refine your ideas and present them to US policy leaders.

Please don’t hesitate to post here or reach out to me with any questions.


I have a point I would add, even though I think it is included in the above points, it is maybe not explicitly stated or highlighted:

We need to move the open science/open access focus away from outcomes and over to actively encouraging an open process.

By this I mean that so much “open science” discussion within academia focuses on final data being open, final publications being open access. As they start to push towards releasing software openly, it again becomes dumping it online at the end without considering reuse.

A custom instrument (or a modification) used for your experiment could be seen as incidental, and therefore may not be shared as part of “open science”. Even if we start to win the debate and open hardware included in open science requirements, we don’t benefit that much if people just dump a final design online.

The power and flexibility of open source software does not come from a closed team of developers occasionally plopping complete source online. The power comes from the collaboration itself happening in the open, this allows everyone in the community to learn about the project, and to learn about the development and the process. It teaches better programming, and it fosters international collaboration.

As science should be a collaborative community endeavour (though our current system of academia puts scientists in competition), the more of the process that is in the open, then the more collaboration can happen. The more we can learn from each others processes. This is good for the field, but it would be seen as bad for a single group that has secret processes that allows them to churn out Nature and Science papers.

@rbowman and I wrote a bit about this in the context of ventilator design during COVID. We pitched this in terms of “open when ready” vs “openly designed hardware”. There is also some literature about this in the open source software world, they described this as the “Cathedral” and the “Bazaar” models of hardware development.

1 Like

Hi @julianstirling, thanks for thinking about this and adding this important point. I agree 100% and I like your framing of it. I’m thinking about different ways to articulate this (one example), and also interested in different ways to seed this shift, ways to re-direct the conversation, or policy levers that might apply. I’d be happy to talk more about additional thoughts or ideas on this, and if we can think of practical ways to move the conversation forward I think that’s the type of thing that would make a great submission :slight_smile: