Introducing the UoM Open Science Working Group

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Scientific research needs to be both reproducible and replicable. Over the last decade, it has become clear that many scientific papers report research findings that turn out to be false. Andrew Stewart from the School of Biological Sciences explains how the new Open Science Working Group at Manchester is engaged in addressing this problem.

The lack of reproducibility in research is a problem across the biological, medical, and social sciences and has many negative consequences. These include wasting limited research resources, funding, and time. The reasons for this lack of reproducibility are similar across academic disciplines – and many of the underlying problems can be addressed using a small number of common solutions.

In late 2018 the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN) was established by Marcus Munafò at the University of Bristol to improve research quality in the UK. This network is supported by UKRI, Research England, The Wellcome Trust, Universities UK, and Jisc (amongst others).

The University of Manchester is represented in the UKRN by Andrew Stewart (School of Biological Sciences). At Manchester, Andrew along with Caroline Jay (School of Computer Science) recently set up an Open Science Working Group (OSWG) to provide a forum for bringing together researchers from across the University at various stages of their careers to discuss, address, and share best practice related to how we can all engage in conducting Open and Reproducible Science. Our OSWG forms part of a regional hub, and we work closely with the equivalent groups at Lancaster University, Keele University, and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Every fortnight, early career researchers at Manchester hold a ReproducibiliTea journal club to discuss research articles on topics related to Open and Reproducible Science. This is an informal gathering and provides researchers with the opportunity to meet and discuss issues around reproducibility, and to support each other as they engage with adopting reproducible research practices.

We have a number of other regular events, including quarterly meetings of the OSWG, as well as training events, and we are connected to key groups and organisations (such as the Software Sustainability Institute) that support Open and Reproducible Science. On February 26th 2020, we will be holding a “Reproducibility in Science” event with Dorothy Bishop (University of Oxford and UKRN Advisory Board) delivering the keynote talk.

If you’d like to keep up to date with all the exciting activities related to Open and Reproducible Science at Manchester and across the North West more generally, please sign up to our mailing list.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Andrew.

Andrew Stewart (School of Biological Sciences), Caroline Jay (School of Computer Science), David Eisner (School of Medical Sciences), and Robert Haines (School of Computer Science) writing on behalf of the University of Manchester Open Science Working Group.

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