The Open Source Chemistry Lab

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The Open Source Chemistry Lab
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Interview with Matthew Todd, The University of Sydney, Australia, recorded at the BEILSTEIN OPEN SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM (22 – 24 May 2017). Matt’s view of open science in chemistry is to share everything that you are doing as you are doing it allowing others to reuse your data in their own work. At the moment there are not that many scientists being completely open. Currently, when publishing articles in journals we mainly publish positive results, plus we keep things secret due to protecting potential IP. This inhibits free-flow of data and knowledge. The best order of events would be to publish data and then publish an article as a summary of the project. This allows other people to get better insights and the scientific record will be more complete. It is also important to share what we don’t know. The Open Source Malaria project is a good example of this. Other scientists spot issues that need to dealt with, or suggest other compounds that can be made, provide new insights and generally speed up and improve the project. There is resistance to being open in case you miss some important insight that would then be made by others. In academia it is still important to been seen as owning something, but this inhibits science. Matt believes that we have gone too far with protection of IP and the expectations of what IP research projects would be able to generate.
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so as it fell from the university of sydney i guess it's like well a university would dress the new was to sit near the area you're one of the guys who are fostering open science in chemistry lab so what does this mean are open citing chemistry means that you share data a lot of data essentially everything you do. doing. that means that people can use and reuse the data for their insights so it's more efficient in terms of funding of signs because you know with with with juan input from a grant you can acquire they are other people come and use for and research is also selfish benefit so if you put your. we search data and he is use you having with your research on the public and i then other people can help you with the research so it should accelerate your research and that's something we found your the many contributors to this openness will come as today though we conclude immersion of the some people will have with some. i don't i'm not very keen to share the data and they want to hide this stuff because when it's raining that there's much more on the day don't own initially seem so what was your observation your experience short year and i think the there aren't that many people doing this kind of thing and i got. people will publish papers of course i'm at your rapidly with associated a research but sometimes the day there on complete perhaps you know we we tend to emphasize positive results rather negative results i'm am and we we tend to keep something secret because of course we want to eventually. published those in a paper and we keep a lot of things you could because we feel we have to protect ip. all these things could inhibit the free flow of information in signs which is a bit of a problem i think these into changing gradually as we see more examples of how easy it is to share data and i'm and the advantages of doing that but it still hasn't by any means reach the mainstream show would have the this the sort of order or for all its solar power. a publishing the and making good of we really really well he was so first published data make them secure to do that leo there and then the next step would be to share this data yet struggling yeah that's the patent i think can and in many in many ways as a little fashion now i'm i mean we need to do we need to be a bit more proactive about sharing. and more data them we perhaps a used to. and the reasons that is other people may make get insights from those data and the data can then be analyzed by a machine algorithms to help us in the process of discovery i'm but i think also it helps the scientific record to be more complete. but i would like to see more sharing of data prix publication and then the publication is is that the summary of the projects where people have had a chance to look at the data or and and so on. i think that's that's the direction the sony we've gone in this open source drug discovery work we're doing the data a kind of come first. you were surprised to realize so if you're showing sharing data your twenty two told the board dealing with different data four months holed do you do this year that it's a it's never easy that there are good i'm data formats that are open and can be used by anybody but not terribly well mind. and it's still the case for example in chemistry that a lot of data that's share with publications is in p.d.f. format so you have a data set of some kind and then you converted to p.d.f. because that's what's normal thing to do for journal and and then the president you lose a lot of information that's that's usually in classes and. finally and chemistry is that we do i'm an animal spectrum and we acquire the spectrum as a load of data and there if you if you want it then we have we convert that to a p.d.f. my picture basically for human consumption and that's fine but what you need is the picture of a human can read and you also need a socially and still nine. nine percent of the time we don't do that which i understood twenty years ago when it was difficult to the shadow better but now it's easy to share their the raw data as well as the sort of human digestive whole person i would just say that openness soon the chemistry they would support correlations. i'm the suits serve them more suitable for large codex order for smaller co-directs well it's mention question i'm so my my view on this is that. the the simplest thing we should do which is what we're doing in this open source meyer protect the simplest thing you can do is to do we all work as normal as a as a researcher and to record what you're doing in love our trees which is all its chronic and on the web and everything and ensure that it because then you don't really have to do anything else you know you're just. when the data as you would normally you put in there as you would normally and the extra process of sharing it openly means that all the music stops and in that can cross-reference an aggregated by whatever or whoever on whatever he wants to do that so it's very simple it doesn't require a lot of extra work you know to to package up the data in a way that suitable for somebody. you just do your work in chair and and then whoever is interesting can come along and play with the data suggests that you have a really good example where these serve the data showing levels to you and successfully and show a yemeni it happens a lot in in the open source malaria project they were running right so yet if you.
many people see things and spot things and can suggest things from way i mean we've cases for example where we've shared almost yours of course that have been made in the project and somebody spot something which has been made and and obviously needs to watch. he said the project in you you sort of you you get over that problem before the summit the papers and the referee say are you missed that a company i course we should have for that before so that that helps a lot and and so many people looking at data that we generated absolutely and bring insights of those and saying well you should do this or that all these data mean this or that absolutely and some. i guess we will take one step further we share the data and we also share very clear that we don't know and that makes it clear to people what is needed in the project which i think is an important access that if we want to the point on the urdu of discovery projects soul on you are involved in them and. and so are trained and there's also all cultural which shares aid on doctors call it is really amazing it isn't that wealth are essentially because it's it's all the problems we have a sharing data are in chemistry has those bags the extra feature that of course this is an area where you normally expected to be secrecy because you'd normally expect to protect i picked right that's why we're doing. capital to confront that its use and we have also discussions years ago about whether this would be a good idea in there trying to use of drug discovery and there's so many iowans both ways back and forth we decided it was used to try as it happens and so year we are trying as model and in malaria drugs got a new molecules and. for the treatment of malaria actually and and and so you abandon a clear economic model and legal model about how to get those molecules to patients but what you gain is this community input and this continual process of peer review and community building which you get when the project is live. on the web so everybody can see what's being done now a and and therefore everyone knows what's needed and it's a fascinating experience because you do get the spontaneous contributions from people really good quality contributions from from well qualified people who come along and and and help the project so you're year from two. we have talked about the chances of openness what about what are the limitations and limitations of openness i think it's just it's still the was a great deal of resistance to to being open with what you have in case you i'm you you missed some inside which would then be gained by somebody else. now for me that's a plus right because he won in size from other people but in many cases other people may be want to want to take take take and keep control of their project until the done with it. they finished the paper the project's finished the grants finished it's very easy then not share the data because you know the party's kind of done over i'm but also i think a lot of people don't like the idea that that you require data on your land and then to sharing it somebody else can come or and provide a key insight service that still so. the war building the goes on you know you you think in academia it's important to be seen to be the owner of something and are driven something yourself still and that inhibits people from sharing data because they worry that they would then the longest be seen as the as the sort of champion of that project right so i understand completely the actual level of. course is that the we often don't share things because we feel as if you need to protect the i p again universities are quite cautious about about revealing lots of things in case that prevents the protection of intellectual property i think we've gone completely the wrong way there it i think what we've become far too cautious about about that. and these extraordinary expectations of of commercial profit from basic science of thing we need to rebalance that clients.