wed nov 30 session 4 16:30 - 18:15


Chair: Leo Lahti (Turku/Leuven)

Jennifer Rampling (Princeton): Reproducibility and the Language of Alchemy


Alchemical language is famous for its obscurity, using symbols, cover names, and elaborate allegories to disguise chemical processes and ingredients. This secrecy has been contrasted with the “openness” of modern science, yet alchemists often had good reason not to publish their knowledge – including the need to maintain their own reputations and secure funding. Yet, then as now, alchemical secrecy raised serious problems for replication, as medieval and early-modern practitioners sought to decipher one another’s recipes in order to reproduce the (claimed) results of earlier adepts. In my talk, I shall investigate how early-modern experimenters dealt with the problem of reproducibility, using examples from my own attempts to reconstruct alchemical recipes in a modern laboratory setting.

Scott Chamberlain (rOpenSci): Software and Best Practices to Facilitate Open Science


One of the many facets of open science is software tools. Various aspects of software - what we use, how we use it, and the quality of those tools - are important for the open science movement. Open source software is increasingly dominant in academia, making it possible to share all aspects of a research project. However, software has generally taken a backseat to other scholarly outputs in academia. To make open science possible, open software tools are required for all parts of the research process: writing, data access, data sharing, statistics, vizualization, and more. Given the lack of attention to software in academia, the way we make and use software has room for improvement. I'll cover how rOpenSci is addressing tooling for open science, highlight success stories, and where we have work to do.

About the speaker:

Dr Chamberlain earned his PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from Rice University and has published widely in his field. For the past six years he has been involved with rOpenSci, which he co-founded and where he currently works full time. rOpenSci is a developer collective that helps connect open source data into the R environment. He is based in Portland, Oregon (USA).