The Netherlands eScience Center held its 6th National eScience Symposium at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam on 21 November 2019. Titled ‘Digital Challenges in Open Science’, this year’s edition included interdisciplinary sessions on various topics on open science, the launch of a new FAIR Software website and the announcement of the Young eScientist Award 2019.

The symposium was kicked off by Prof. Rob van Nieuwpoort, acting director of the eScience Center, who briefly spoke about the growing influence of the open science movement and the irreversible transition to open science. However, while open science represents the future of research and reflects the fundamental values of the scientific process, it still faces major hurdles, according to Van Nieuwpoort. This is why it is imperative that researchers, policymakers and industry stakeholders come together to discuss these challenges and together find meaningful answers.

Prof. Frank Miedema, Vice Rector for Research at Utrecht University, then delivered the keynote address on the promise of open science. According to Miedema, there is much more to open science than only open access and FAIR open data. It also seeks to connect research more directly and continuously with societal stakeholders, who comprise a broad range of public groups with a diverse set of problems. “This open relation at all stages of knowledge production has been shown to improve the research agenda and to enhance the potential impact, use and adoption of new knowledge”, said Miedema.

The plenary session was followed by morning and afternoon sessions on the challenges and opportunities of open science in various domains, including health and life sciences, the humanities and social sciences.

FAIR Software and Young eScientist Award

The closing plenary included two highlights of the symposium – the announcement of the Young eScientist Award 2019 and the launch of the FAIR Software website.

First, the winner of the Young eScientist Award was announced. This year’s winning proposal was submitted by Lise Stork, a PhD researcher at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) at Leiden University. Stork, one of three finalists, received the award for her proposal to make historical biodiversity data directly available to researchers. As this year’s winner, Stork will receive 50,000 euros worth of expertise from the eScience Center to develop her proposal.

Read more about the Young eScientist Award 2019

Next up was the launch of a new FAIR Software website, a joint initiative between the Netherlands eScience Center and Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS). The website provides recommendations to researchers on ways to improve the quality and reproducibility of their software.

Read more about the FAIR Software website

The symposium was concluded with an exhibition of a number of software tools and methodologies produced by the Netherlands eScience Center.

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