University of Amsterdam: NWO Open Science Fund awards six UvA projects

Six UvA projects in the field of Open Science will receive a financial boost of up to 50,000 euros from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The Open Science Fund aims to support researchers in developing, testing and implementing innovative ways of making research open, accessible, transparent and reusable, covering the whole range of Open Science.

The UvA projects which received awards cover a broad spectrum of new open science practices.

The UvA projects
iCRF Generator Extended Edition – Opening Interoperable Science (iCRF-OS)
Dr Jeroen Belien (AMC): Interoperability of clinical data can be achieved by using international thesauri, such as SNOMED CT, when setting up case report forms (CRFs). This is, however, complicated and time consuming. With the iCRF Generator, standardised data definitions, such as the Clinical Building Blocks, can be reused to generate CRFs for various electronic data capture systems. The data then collected is interoperable with other data that uses these standard definitions. In this project, the iCRF Generator will be expanded with: 1) ODM export, the international standard for clinical trials; 2) support for alternative codebook sources; 3) Improved user interface for codebook selection.

The anatomical connectome of the brain
Dr Natalie Cappaert (Neuroscience): Much research time has been devoted to determining anatomical interconnectivity of the brain. However, effective utilization of the resulting publications is hampered by the large number of available studies, by the lack of standardization in anatomical nomenclature and the use of neuro-anatomical jargon. In this project we will assemble brain connectivity data from these publications in a peer-reviewed, public database containing brain connections using standardized terminology and related metadata. This information will be made accessible through a web-based connectome. This will help brain scientist to create a better understanding of fundamental brain processes and diseases.

Next stage development of SciPost’s publishing infrastructure (SciPostPI)
Dr Jean-Sébastien Caux (Physics): Based at the UvA’s Institute of Physics, the SciPost team is developing a non-profit open science publishing platform. Governed by open science principles, SciPost journals publish open access, without paywalls or costs to authors. SciPost currently publishes five journals in physics and is now expanding to other disciplines. Working with several scientific communities in parallel necessitates further development of IT infrastructure and web app. This project will upgrade SciPost’s infrastructure, allowing working with multiple teams employing parallel editorial processes and dealing with growing numbers of authors and manuscripts. Subsequently more research communities can publish their own open science journals.

WikipediaCitations: A FAIR dataset of Wikipedia’s citations to its sources
Dr Giovanni Colavizza (Media Studies): Wikipedia is an essential component of the open science ecosystem, yet it is poorly integrated with academic open science initiatives. We propose to create WikipediaCitations: a FAIR dataset of citations from Wikipedia to all its sources. Citations will be enriched with permanent identifiers and citation statements and ingested as linked data in OpenCitations. WikipediaCitations will include a documented codebase to replicate and expand upon results. This project promises to advance the open science agenda by contributing high-quality citation data useful in ‘altmetrics’ and a variety of third-party applications, and in researching and improving the reliability of Wikipedia’s contents.

Strengthening the foundations of Open Science practices at the Amsterdam Science Park Study Group
Dr Joachim Goedhart (Life Sciences): The Amsterdam Science Park Study Group is a local community of life scientists that share their expertise, organize training and promote good practices in data-related topics such as data analysis, programming and data management. Engaging early-career researchers through peer-to-peer mentoring and training is a valuable approach to foster a cultural change toward a more Open Science. This proposal aims to expand our current activities and to upscale our community to increase the impact of the Amsterdam Science Park Study Group on Open Science practices in the life sciences.

3DWorkSpace – an open science/interactive tool for 3D datasets
Dr Jill Hilditch (Archaeology): New tools are urgently needed for 3D datasets to improve accessibility, facilitate engagement/interaction with the datasets and promote two-directional knowledge transfer. 3DWorkSpace will adapt the open source Voyager 3D digital museum curation tool suite (Smithsonian Institute) to promote interactive engagement with traditionally complex digital datasets. Embedded structured guidance/training for gaining competence and skills for interpreting 3D datasets will allow broader narratives to be generated and open up new avenues for knowledge publication through the creation of annotated personal 3D collections that can be tailored to specific learning goals or interests.

Open Science insufficiently appreciated
With the Open Science Fund, the NWO wants to take a step forward in the recognition and appreciation of Open Science practices by supporting projects from researchers who are (or want to be) forerunners in the movement. Part of the assessment was therefore also the open science track record of the applicants, which counted for 10% of the assessment. 64% of researchers believe that Open Science is insufficiently recognised and valued, according to a recent poll conducted by Markteffect on behalf of the NWO. More results from the poll will follow in early November in the next issue of the NWO’s magazine Research.

There was a great deal of interest in this first round of the Open Science Fund. A total of 167 admissible applications were assessed, of which 26 received awards.

The Open Science Fund was launched last year by the NWO. A budget of over 1.2 million euros is available for this first round. A second round will be opened in the second half of 2022.

The NWO has been committed to the transition to Open Science for a long time. Publications arising from NWO funding must therefore be open access. Research data generated during NWO projects must also be made available as openly as possible.

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