Open Science DownUnder — Fiona Fidler reports

Last week, the 2018 Australasian Open Science Conference was held in Brisbane at the University of Queensland: The first conference in Oz on the themes of Open Science and how to improve how science is done. They expected 40 and 140 turned up! By all reports it was a rip-roaring success. So mark your diary for the second meeting, likely to be in Melbourne on 7-8 Nov 2019. That’s a great time of year to escape the misery of the Northern Hemisphere in winter and take in a bit of sun, sand, and surf–and good science.

Fiona Fidler kindly provided the following brief report of last week’s meeting:

A new Open Science and Meta-Research community in Australia

Our research group recently attended the Australasian Open Science (un)conference at the University of Queensland. The meeting was modelled on SIPS (Society for Improving Psychological Science), which means the focus was on doing things, not streams of long talks.

For the first meeting of its kind in Australia, it certainly pulled a crowd. Organises Eric Vanman, Jason Tangen and Barbara Masser (Psychology, UQ) had initially expected attendance of around 40. In the end, 140 of us gathered in Brisbane. And more still engaged through twitter, during and after the conference. It has been wonderful to discover this Australia community and great plans to stay connected are emerging, e.g., formalising a Melbourne Open Science community and working towards our own Australian and interdisciplinary SIPS-style society. If you’re reading this and you’d like to add your name to the list of people interested in these things, send me (Fiona) an email ( and I’ll make sure you receive the survey Mathew Ling (Deakin Uni) is currently setting up.

This first meeting included: hackathons to establish checklists for assessing the reliability of published research; brainstorming sessions about open science practices in applied research; discussions (unconferences) on the existence of QRPs outside of a hypothesis testing framework, and practical problems in computational reproducibility; R workshops and sessions on creating ‘open tools’. A Rapid Open Science Jam at the end of the first day resulted in new project ideas, including one to survey undergraduate intuitions about open science practice. View the full program for all the other good things I haven’t mentioned (there are many). And of course, there’s more on twitter: #uqopenscience.

We are all very grateful to the large and impressive group of student volunteers who contributed to the great success of #uqopenscience, including Raine Vickers-Jones who opened the conference with warmth and enthusiasm.

In 2019 the conference will move to Melbourne and take on a slightly more interdisciplinary flavour, as the Australasian Interdisciplinary Open Science Conference. We expect to see ecologists, biologists, medical researchers and others, in addition to the existing psychology base. Tentative dates 7-8 Nov 2019 at the University of Melbourne. We anticipate being able to offer a limited number of travel scholarships for students and ECRs.

For now, look for updates on or contact the organising committee Fiona Fidler (Uni Melb, @fidlerfm), Hannah Fraser (Uni Melb @HannahSFraser), Emily Kothe (Deakin, @emilyandthelime) and Jennifer Beaudry (Swinburne, @drjbeaudry).
Thanks Fiona for that report. Shortly after sending it, she sent another message–saying ‘Here’s a much better blog post’ and then giving the link to:
Eight take-aways from the first Australasian Open Science conference

Well, whether or not better, it certainly has tons of great stuff. I’d love to have been there!

Here are a couple of thoughts of mine:

So young! Like SIPS, it looks like the median age of participants is less than half my age! Which is fantastic. If ever we worried that the next generation of researchers would play it safe and just do what their professors told them to do, well we need not have worried. They are creating the new and better ways to do science, and are finding ways to get it out there and happening. All of which is great. (Hey, reach for ITNS when it can help, especially by helping beginners into OS ways.)

Not just psychology Note #6, ‘it isn’t just psychology’, and also Fiona’s comments about the range of disciplines likely to be involved in the second meeting, next November. Psychology has the research skills to do the meta-research and collect evidence about scientific practices, and to develop many of the policies, tools, and materials needed for OS. That can all be valuable for numerous other disciplines as they make their versions of the OS journey.


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