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Addressing Inclusivity in Open Science

Atay MS, Bottenhorn KL, HBM (2021).

As part of the OHBM 2021 Symposium, “Addressing the Social Limitations in Open Science”, Dr. Bottenhorn gave this presentation virtually.


The goals of open science are, broadly, to democratize access and to promote good research practices. Unfortunately, these goals fall short in several key ways, at the center of which are equity, diversity, and inclusivity (EDI) not only of the community, but of the fruits of their labors. Historically, the open science movement has been dominated by a narrow demographic with the access and support (institutional and otherwise) to time and resources they can spend on “open science” efforts. This monolithic culture has been furthered by (1) a gravitation of open science efforts on technical solutions and valuation of technical skills and (2) a reliance on computational resources that are inaccessible to a large proportion of the globe. While the community has become more diverse in the past few years, there is still a long way to go and the products of open science remain sequestered in the global North. Furthermore, EDI disparities have been highlighted by continuing socio-economic issues, recent increases in related scholarship, and the COVID-19 pandemic, revealing that our science isn’t as open as it should be. From culture to reachability, accessibility, there remains a lot of room for improvement. Failure in achieving EDI goals, not only hinders science, but imposes clear limitations and biases in the voices around us and the knowledge we produce. Science benefits from diversity in perspectives, experiences, and beliefs, in addition to accessible tools and reproducible research practices. New ways of thinking, understanding and learning are needed, new ways of establishing inclusion as a culture is needed to encourage and include historically underrepresented people, without such practices open science would not be as open as it should be.