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Open-Source Science: The New Frontier of Discovery

Hello, wizards of code and architects of innovation!

Have you ever wondered if there's a parallel universe where software developers are the superheroes of scientific research? Well, guess what? That universe exists, and it's not an alternate reality. It's right here, in our world of Open Source Science, or OSSci for the cool kids!

Imagine a world where a researcher in Boston collaborates with a software engineer in Bangalore, using a tool built by a developer in Berlin, to solve a complex scientific problem. That's the power of open source science - a global community of bright minds working together, breaking through traditional boundaries of knowledge, and creating groundbreaking solutions.

This isn't a fantasy; it's happening right now, in a movement called open science. One of the leaders in this field is a group known as Open Source Science (OSSci), steered by Tim Bonnemann at IBM, who we had the chance to talk to recently.

So, Tim let's journey to the roots, unraveling the enigma from the start: What's the concept of Open-Source Science?

Open-Source Science (OSSci) is a new initiative under NumFOCUS that aims to accelerate scientific research and discovery by improving any and all aspects of how open source is being applied in science – from better onboarding for students and young scientists on their journey towards becoming empowered OSS contributors and advocates, to encouraging collaboration across scientific disciplines, all the way to supporting ongoing efforts by some of the biggest funders of research globally to drive OSS best practices through the grants they award. OSSci is a community initiative. We bring together scientists who use open source to tackle the biggest challenges our planet is facing, OSS developers who love science, and other stakeholders, to share their ways of working, explore and document the OSS tool landscape, and identify common pain points.

Who's eligible to dive into the world of OSSci?

OSSci is open to anyone passionate about accelerating science through open source. Our interest groups – initially focused on chemistry/material science, life sciences/healthcare, and climate/sustainability – have been getting under way. Just fill out the application form to express your interest. We are starting to show up at conferences and events, in addition to (co-)hosting our own OSSci meetups. More opportunities to plug in and contribute will be announced over the coming months. Make sure to follow OSSci on Medium or subscribe to our monthly newsletter and be the first to know!

We're absolutely thrilled that an OSSci track is gracing our #bythebay conference. Our anticipation is sky-high for the fresh perspectives it will unveil and the new connections we're bound to make! What's your take on this?

Our goal is to elevate stories of successful use of open source in science but also highlight some of the particular challenges when it comes to open source in academia and science. We want to inspire our wider SBTB audience – some of the most capable people in tech today – to take a closer look at science and the unique technological challenges in front of us.

Key points the track will cover:

  • Open-source software driving scientific advances

  • Scientific research driving the development of innovative OSS tools and approaches

  • Up-and-coming science-related OSS tools looking for contributors

  • Lessons learned from collaboration in the open source for science space

Whether you’re a researcher, research engineer, OSS developer, administrator, or otherwise have experience at the intersection of open source and science – we want to meet you by the Bay!

We also invite you to watch Tim's interview with Doc Searls and Dan Lynch on their FLOSS Weekly show :

Eager to learn more about Open Source Science? Here are some USEFUL LINKS:

So, we extend our thanks to Tim for his valuable time and illuminating perspectives!

Open Source Science presents an exciting opportunity for everyone in the software development and scientific research fields. Each line of code can bring us closer to groundbreaking discoveries. We invite you to bring your passion, expertise, and curiosity to the SBTB conference. Remember, we are all contributors, innovators, and key players in this shared journey. Let's explore this vast realm of Open Source Science together.


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