UBC becomes first Canadian institution to join open science platform

UBC Okanagan's Sharon Hanna, Mathew Vis-Dunbar and Jason Pither announced this week UBC is the first Canadian university to sign on to the Center for Open Science's online platform, OSF Institutions.

UBC Okanagan’s Sharon Hanna, Mathew Vis-Dunbar and Jason Pither announced this week UBC is the first Canadian university to sign on to the Center for Open Science’s online platform, OSF Institutions.

New service aims to make transparency, collaboration, and reproducibility easier than ever

With increasing interest in promoting transparency, collaboration, and reproducibility in academic research, the University of British Columbia announced today that it has become the first Canadian post-secondary institution to join the Center for Open Science’s online platform, Open Science Framework Institutions (OSFI).

OSFI is a highly flexible collaboration and research management tool that encourages best practices in project organization and reproducibility.

Mathew Vis-Dunbar is a librarian for the Southern Medical Program, biology and human kinetics at UBC Okanagan and has been leading UBC’s adoption of the system. He says the university’s embrace of open science is important for bringing greater transparency to academic research and for helping to maintain public trust in science.

“With recent concerns about a reproducibility crisis plaguing scientific research, the benefits of open science, where everything from research plans to the data and results of a study is posted for all to review and scrutinize, are well recognized,” says Vis-Dunbar. “Breaking down traditional barriers to collaborative research is also very effective at improving the quality and impact of research, making connections and accelerating the pace of scientific discovery.”

That is where OSFI comes in, says Jason Pither, associate professor of biology at UBC Okanagan and collaborator on the project.

“We all strive to publish ground-breaking research, but equally important is ensuring that our work is reproducible, and discoverable to all who wish to see it,” says Pither. “OSFI facilitates this. It is a free online platform that helps researchers organize their research projects and workflow, to keep track of all changes made along the way, and to store and share protocols and outputs.

Pither adds that it also integrates with many tools that researchers are already using, and makes large international collaborations easy.

“OSFI accommodates all aspects of the work that goes into research, such as storing data and making them accessible and discoverable,” he says. “And unlike other platforms, OSFI provides storage infrastructure that resides in Canada.”

“Our membership in OSFI will help UBC researchers lead Canada’s efforts towards greater transparency and rigour in academic research, and it’s a move I expect many other institutions to follow.”

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