WIDE – Open Source Science challenges participants to make science more equal, transparent and accessible

Application is now open to WIDE – Open Source Science, a unique challenge and hackathon organized on 26–28 October to make science a fundamental right for everyone.

Open science is becoming crucial for advancing science and society. This is why the University of Helsinki IT Center is joining forces with the National Library, the IT center for science CSC, and Helsinki Think Company, the entrepreneurship society of the university, to organize WIDE – Open Source Science 26–28 October in Helsinki.

WIDE is a two-track challenge program welcoming everyone interested in bringing more openness and accessibility to science and data. It consists of a multidisciplinary challenge based on fostering the principles of open science, and a technical challenge for developing solutions that help scientific archives become more attractive and accessible for all. Participants in the multidisciplinary challenge could, for example, create a new process for open peer review, while those in the technical track could create an application to visualize cultural trends in relation to migration movements.

Open science benefits both the scientific process and society

Apart from providing more tools to decision makers, citizens and businesses, open science is crucial for addressing problems within science itself. Reproducibility issues, publication bias and droves of unreleased research are just a few of the issues often attributed to the closed access model.

WIDE aims to be a part of the wider open science effort. Initial open science efforts have been made by universities and other science-related institutions worldwide, including the University of Helsinki, but there is still much they could and should contribute. For example, scientific publications produced by the academic community of the University of Helsinki are already self-archived and made openly available in the HELDA publication archive. However, this process is not yet automatic or fully enforced.

A hot topic in the international science community

In the WIDE challenge, participants can also focus on ideas related to open educational resources, which are also under the umbrella of open science. MOOCs (massive open online courses) are becoming a central vehicle for the future of education. The scientific community is taking notice and many of the most prestigious institutions offer a large variety of MOOCs in many different scientific fields. A well-known example of this is the massively popular introductory artificial intelligence course, Elements of AI, organized by the University of Helsinki and Reaktor. Another effort by the University of Helsinki in collaboration with three other universities is Digital Education For All. The pilot project makes first year courses in computer science free and open for all without registration during 2019–2020. In the future, we are likely to see an increasing amount of educational projects striving for openness.

Open science has also been noted widely in the media this year: On 4 September, a European coalition of national science funders, supported by the European Research Council, announced “Plan S.”. The plan aims to prohibit researchers and scientists funded by national research institutions from publishing in closed access journals by 2020. This has provoked swift condemnation from science publishing giants and careful celebration from open science advocates. The Academy of Finland has expressed their support too.

Apply to WIDE – Open Source Science by 11 October

In the end, we are all consumers of science, and its fruits should belong to us all. Join WIDE – Open Source Science to help make science a fundamental right for everyone.

Find more information and apply for WIDE before 11 October!