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The House of Lords on Open Access

Ross Mounce - January 16, 2013 in News, Open Access, WG Open Data in Science

This month, the House of Lords science committee is hearing evidence on the likely effects of the new Research Councils UK (RCUK) Open Access policy that will come into force in April this year for all RCUK-funded researchers.

The UK, and many other countries around the world are making this bold move to allow everyone open access to academic research because, in the long term, it will save money AND increase access to research for everyone. Currently the predominant mode of paying for the publication of research is via the subscription-access model – an inefficient system which benefits commercial publishers to the detriment of taxpayers.

Under the subscription model, taxpayer-funded research is given to publishers (for free) and the publishers sell access to this research to everyone, usually via annual subscription(s). The UK and all other countries thus have to rent access to research papers (many of which they produced themselves!) at an estimated global cost of $8 billion per year.

Under the ‘gold’ Open Access model, research is instead published either for an upfront fee or for no charge with institutional support, and made permanently free to access for everyone on the internet. This mode ensures more people have easy access to research and that the costs of publishing are met both upfront and transparently – a marked contrast from the Non-Disclosure Agreements that shroud many of the ‘Big Deal’ subscription-access agreements in secrecy. The ‘green’ route to Open Access whereby copies of research can be posted to research repositories after a short embargo period is also allowed under this policy.

There are concerns for some of the smaller details of this new policy and how it might affect particular groups like British Learned Societies, and thus the House of Lords are calling for written evidence submissions concerning these specific issues within the proposed plan:

  • support for universities through funds to cover article processing charges;
  • embargo periods for articles published under open access;
  • engagement with publishers, universities learned societies and other stakeholders in developing the new open access policies; and
  • how the Government should address the concerns raised by the scientific and publishing communities about the policy.

Any party interested in submitting written evidence should contact the Clerk to the Committee on by the end of this week.

Example submissions include: Mike Taylor’s, 12 January 2013

I shall also be submitting some evidence ASAP.

The Committee will hold its final day of interview evidence on Tuesday 29 January when they will hear in-person from a number of witnesses including David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Science Universities, and Professor Rick Rylance, Chair of Research Councils UK.

Open Research Data Handbook Sprint – 15-16 February

Velichka Dimitrova - January 16, 2013 in Events, Featured, Open Data Handbook, Open Economics, Open Science, Open Standards, Sprint / Hackday, WG Development, WG Economics, WG Open Bibliographic Data, WG Open Data in Science

On February 15-16, the Open Research Data Handbook Sprint will happen at the Open Data Institute, 65 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4JE.

The Open Research Data Handbook aims to provide an introduction to the processes, tools and other areas that researchers need to consider to make their research data openly available.

Join us for a book sprint to develop the current draft, and explore ways to remix it for different disciplines and contexts.

Who it is for:

  • Researchers interested in carrying out their work in more open ways
  • Experts on sharing research and research data
  • Writers and copy editors
  • Web developers and designers to help present the handbook online
  • Anyone else interested in taking part in an intense and collaborative weekend of action

Register at Eventbrite

What will happen:

The main sprint will take place on Friday and Saturday. After initial discussions we’ll divide into open space groups to focus on research, writing and editing for different chapters of the handbook, developing a range of content including How To guidance, stories of impact, collections of links and decision tools.

A group will also look at digital tools for presenting the handbook online, including ways to easily tag content for different audiences and remix the guide for different contexts.


Week before & after:

  • Calling for online contributions and reviews


  • Seminar or bring your own lunch on open research data.
  • From 2pm: planning and initial work in the handbook in small teams (optional)


  • 10.00 – 10:30: Arrive and coffee
  • 10.30 – 11.30: Introducing open research – lightning talks
  • 11.30 – 13:30: Forming teams and starting sprint. Groups on:
    • Writing chapters
    • Decision tools
    • Building website & framework for book
    • Remixing guide for particular contexts
  • 13.30 – 14:30: Lunch
  • 14.30 – 16:30: Working in teams
  • 17.30 – 18:30: Report back
  • 18:30 – …… : Pub


OKF Open Science Working Group – creators of the current Open Research Data Handbook
OKF Open Economic Working Group – exploring economics aspects of open research
Open Data Research Network – exploring a remix of the handbook to support open social science
research in a new global research network, focussed on research in the Global South.
Open Data Institute – hosting the event

Open Data and Privacy Concerns in Biomedical Research

Sabina Leonelli - November 26, 2012 in Ideas and musings, Open Data, Open Science, WG Open Data in Science

Privacy has long been the focus of debates about how to use and disseminate data taken from human subjects during clinical research. The increasing push to share data freely and openly within biomedicine poses a challenge to the idea of private individual information, whose dissemination patients and researchers can control and monitor.

In order to address this challenge, however, it is not enough to think about (or simply re-think) the meaning of ‘informed consent’ procedures. Rather, addressing privacy concerns in biomedical research today, and the ways in which the Open Data movement might transform how we think about the privacy of patients, involves understanding the ways in which data are disseminated and used to generate new results. In other words, one needs to study how biomedical researchers confront the challenges of making data intelligible and useful for future research.

Efficient data re-use comes from what the Royal Society calls ‘intelligent openness’ – the development of standards for data dissemination which make data both intelligible and assessable. Data are intelligible when they can be used as evidence for one or more claims, thus helping scientists to advance existing knowledge. Data are assessable when scientists can evaluate their quality and reliability as evidence, usually on the basis of their format, visualisation and extra information (metadata) also available in databases.

Yet the resources and regulatory apparatus for securing proper curation of data, and so their adequate dissemination and re-use, are far from being in place. Making data intelligible and assessable requires labour, infrastructures and funding, as well as substantial changes to the institutional structures surrounding scientific research. While the funding to build reliable and stable biomedical databases and Open Data Repositories is increasing, there is no appropriate business model to support the long-term sustainability of these structures, with national funders, industry, universities and publishing houses struggling to agree on their respective responsibilities in supporting data sharing.

Several other factors are important. For instance, the free dissemination of data is not yet welcomed by the majority of researchers, who do not have the time or resources for sharing their data, are not rewarded for doing so and who often fear that premature data-sharing will damage their competitive advantage over other research groups. There are intellectual property concerns too, especially when funding for research comes from industry or specific parts of government such as defence. Further, there are few clear standards for what counts as evidence in different research contexts and across different geographical locations. And more work needs to be done on how to relate datasets collected at different times and with different technologies.

The social sciences and humanities have an important role to help scientific institutions and funders develop policies and infrastructures for the evaluation of data-sharing practices, particularly the collaborative activities that fuel data-intensive research methods. An improved understanding of how data can be made available so as to maximise their usefulness for future research can also help tackle privacy concerns relating to sensitive data about individuals.

When it comes to sharing medical records, it is now generally agreed that providing ‘informed consent’ to individual patients is simply not possible, as neither patients not researchers themselves can predict how the data could be used in the future. Even the promise of anonymity is failing, as new statistical and computational methods make it possible to retrieve the identity of individuals from large, aggregated datasets, as shown by genome-wide association studies.

A more effective approach is the development of ‘safe havens’: data repositories which would give access to data only to researchers with appropriate credentials. This could potentially safeguard data from misuse, without hampering researchers’ ability to extract new knowledge from them. Whether this solution succeeds ultimately depends on the ability of researchers to work with data providers, including patients, to establish how data travel online, how they are best re-used and how data sharing is likely to affect, and hopefully improve, future medicine. This work is very important, and should be supported and rewarded by universities, research councils and other science funders as an integral part of the research process.

To learn more, read the report ‘Making Data Accessible to All’

Members of the public asked to help tend Feynman’s Flowers

Theodora Middleton - November 12, 2012 in Featured, Open Science, PyBossa, WG Open Data in Science

A project at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) is making fantastic use of the Pybossa tool (a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Citizen Cyberscience Centre) in a citizen science project called ‘Feynman’s Flowers’, which launched this weekend.

The project asks members of the public to help unlock the secrets of magnetism at the molecular scale, and is powered by our free, open-source, platform for creating and running crowd-sourcing applications that utilise online assistance in performing tasks that require human cognition.

From their press release:

The project’s website invites volunteers from across the world to analyse microscope images of individual molecules, which have characteristic flower shapes. Anyone can take part, and only a few clicks of the computer mouse are required to collect valuable information.

The Feynman’s Flowers project will allow volunteers to measure the position of a molecule in relation to a metal surface to help scientists understand how this can affect the molecule’s properties. Data that volunteers produce will contribute to a research project run by the group of Dr. Cyrus Hirjibehedin at the LCN, in collaboration with Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Citizen Cyberscience Centre.

Currently, the research project is focused on exploring the behaviour of phthalocyanine molecules. In the past, these were used as dyes for fabrics, but scientists now realise that they also have interesting electronic and magnetic properties that make them potentially useful for creating nanoscale devices that can manipulate or store information.

This website is the first project of its kind in this area of physics, applying the power of crowd-sourcing to help understand images created by a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM). Operating at temperatures close to absolute zero (-273˚C), the STM allows scientists to image individual atoms and molecules on surfaces and to explore their fascinating magnetic and electronic properties. Public participation will allow for the analysis of data in ways that previously would not have been possible.

PyBossa Logo

Find out more on the UCL website – and get involved here!

Open Science Hackday – with donuts, the Queen, and a whole lot of rain…

Jenny Molloy - July 24, 2012 in Featured, Open Science, Sprint / Hackday, WG Open Data in Science

This is a post by Jenny Molloy, coordinator of the OKFN Open Science Working Group, and Laura Newman, community coordinator. The blog post is also featured on the Open Science blog.

Tea, Twitter and typing - all in another day's hacking

It was a day of ‘firsts’ for the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Science working group at their summer hackday on Saturday: the first hackday to be held by the group in the Centre for Creative Collaboration, the first trial run with Google Hangouts, the first introduction to – and the first time Panton Fellow Ross Mounce had been so comprehensively soaked in a July downpour!

Despite the freak rainstorms, ten people joined the hackday in London, with many more joining online from across the world. Online participants may have missed out on the donuts, but thanks to Google Hangout they could see and hear us for much of the sprint. Multiple microphones in one room meant that the Hangout was suitably chaotic at times (!), but it added a fun dimension to the sprint, and is something we may explore further in future – with a better sense of what a Hangout can (and can’t) achieve.

Interspersed with a lot of laughter as the Hangout got off the ground, the hackers achieved a huge amount throughout the day:

PyBossa ages the Queen

At the suggestion of Francois Grey, co-creator of PyBossa, we worked up an app to crowdsource estimates of age. Based on the FlickrPerson app, PyBossa takes images of the Queen snapped at various points in her life, and asks users to guess how old she is.

The project is a demo of how distribution of cognitive tasks among members of the public could be used for research e.g. experimental psychologists could gather data on people’s ability to guess age, or technology development e.g. helping train algorithms for age estimation.

The current draft code for the app and shiny age selection bar can be found here. Feel free to contribute and create your own apps for the pyBOSSA platform – what problems could distributed thinking solve for you and your research?

The Open Research Data Handbook

A long-standing project that the Open Science working group has been keen to run is putting together an ‘Open Research Data Handbook’. Based on the successful concept of the Open Data Handbook and the Data Driven Journalism Handbook, the Open Research Data Handbook will aim to explain the what and why, and most importantly the how, of making research data open. It will be aimed towards doctoral students and researchers, and will also include supplementary sections to advise funders and research institutions on how best to support and promote open data in science.

During Saturday’s hackday, we refined the concept behind the Open Research Data Handbook, producing a skeleton contents page on seems to have an intuitive interface, and all edits and contributions to the Open Research Data Handbook are very warmly welcomed! The goal is to draft much of the content during booksprints at OKFest, and everyone is invited to collaborate and contribute from now onwards to make that a reality. Check out the contents page and keep watching this space…

Using the for Science

Peter Murray-Rust gave an introduction to the, outlining his vision for how it could be used for science, and giving a practical demonstration of how to upload a dataset (during which demonstration it became apparent just how much scientific data is still stored as a pdf!). After his demo, Peter got stuck in to generating an xlst style sheet to upload XML supplementary data files from the Open Access subset of UK PubMedCentral into the DataHub as CSV files to enable dynamic data visualisation using the DataHub’s in-built tools.

Plans are afoot to upload the data sets and other from Open Access publishers such as BioMedCentral to enable easy visualisation of the underlying data with minimal effort. The DataHub team have produced a great blog post on how to open up scientific data using CKAN/DataHub and will be looking into improving functionality so do comment on features you would like to see e.g. export of graphs as vector graphics.

Who Needs Access?

‘Who Needs Access?’ gathers stories from people who have been helped by open access or hindered by closed access to demonstrate how public access to research makes people’s lives better. We created a list of comments from newspaper articles on open access by authors with whom we’d like to get in touch and invite for a WNA? interview, so look out for new updates to the site and get in touch with if you’d be keen to join the project as a blog editor!

DataHub Demo by PMR

And what we didn’t manage

Despite the productivity, a lot of the tasks that had been suggested for the day remain to be done. You can check out the ideas on the event pad.

Many of these projects are ongoing, and we warmly welcome contributions to all or any of them! If this has piqued your curiosity, please do sign-up to the open-science mailing list and introduce yourself. We hope that you may be able to join us for the next Open Science Hackday, which is scheduled to take place in late October. More details to follow!

In the meantime we also hope you might be able to join us at OKFest in Helsinki this September, where we’ll be holding a whole day of open science workshops and hacking on Tue 18 Sep, followed by a fantastic series of talks as part of the Open Research and Education Stream, 19-20 Sep.

Image of Queen: Public Domain image by NASA/Bill Ingalls from Wikipedia

Open Science Hackday, 7th July, in London and Online!

Laura Newman - June 15, 2012 in Events, Open Science, Sprint / Hackday, WG Open Data in Science, Working Groups

The next OKFN Open Science hackday will be taking place in a few weeks on Saturday 7th July. It would be great to see plenty of open-science folk either in London or online, wherever you are in the world!

When: Saturday 7 July 2012, 1000-1700 UTC+1
Where: Centre for Creative Collaboration, London
OKFN IRC channel (#okfn on, see full details of how to connect)
Sign up HERE

Hackday at the Barbican

Our last outing to the Barbican saw a small but dedicated group working on projects as diverse as services for open access policies, extracting phylogenetic tree information from PDFs, storing crowdsourced data in CKAN and more. This time we’re going to be bigger and better with a dedicated space which will hopefully be filled by YOU.

If you’d like to come along, please add yourself to the Etherpad and if you have a specific idea you’d like to work on, add that too and you’ll have a couple of minutes at the start of the hackday to tell everyone about it so we can link you up with people who’d like to help.

You don’t need to have an idea for anything to work on or even any coding skills to join, there are plenty of opportunities to get stuck in with other people’s projects and many non-technical tasks, especially if you like writing or design.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact

Introducing PyBossa – the open-source micro-tasking platform

Sam Leon - June 8, 2012 in Featured, Featured Project, OKI Projects, Our Work, PyBossa, Technical, WG Open Data in Science, Working Groups

PyBossa Logo

For a while now our network has been working on applications, tools and platforms for crowd-sourcing and micro-tasking. At the end of last year, we posted about a cute little app developed at a hackday called the Data Digitizer that was being used to transcribe Brazillian budgetary data.

In recent months we’ve been working closely with the Citizen Cyberscience Center on an exciting new platform called PyBossa. In a nut-shell, PyBossa is a free, open-source crowd-sourcing and micro-tasking platform. It enables people to create and run projects that utilise online assistance in performing tasks that require human cognition such as image classification, transcription, geocoding and more. PyBossa is there to help researchers, civic hackers and developers to create projects where anyone around the world with some time, interest and an internet connection can contribute.

There is already a wealth of such projects, including long-running ones such as FreeBMD – a huge effort to transcribe the Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths in the UK – as well as more recent ones such as GalaxyZoo – a hugely successful project based on volunteer efforts to classify photographs of galaxies taken by the Hubble telescope.

With PyBossa we want to make the creation of such potentially transformative projects as easy as possible and so PyBossa is different to existing efforts:

  • It’s a 100% open-source
  • Unlike, say, “mechanical turk” style projects, PyBossa is not designed to handle payment or money — it is designed to support volunteer-driven projects.
  • It’s designed as a platform and framework for developing deploying crowd-sourcing and microtasking apps rather than being a crowd-sourcing application itself. Individual crowd-sourcing apps are written as simple snippets of Javascript and HTML which are then deployed on a PyBossa instance (such as This way one can easily develop custom apps while using the PyBossa platform to store your data, manage users, and handle workflow.

You can read more about the architecture in the PyBossa Documentation and follow the step-by-step tutorial to create your own apps.


PyBossa currently comes with several demo applications that showcase two types of projects:

Flickr Person shows how easily you can create a project where you have a set of photos or figures that need a classification or a description of the photo. In this demo application, the latest 20 published public photos from Flickr are used as input for the volunteers where they will have to answer a simple question: Do you see a human in this photo?

PyBossa Baby

The demo project Melanoma comes from an idea conceived by a team at Sage Bionetworks. Melanoma is one of the most life-threatening forms of cancer and its incidence is on the rise. It is often difficult for medical professionals to determine if a skin lesion is cancerous or not, but if diagnosed early patients have a 95% chance of survival. Advances in computer-aided image manipulation have improved the diagnostic process, but the hope is that the combination of these techniques and crowd-sourcing will improve these techniques further making early diagnosis more common.

In the demo you are asked to say if a skin lesion shows signs of being cancerous, and are taken through the various key questions: is it asymmetrical?, are its borders blurred?, is its colour uneven? and is it bigger than 6mm in diameter?. The plan is to extend this demo into a project that will help citizens recognise the early signs of skin cancer and also enable scientists to evaluate the role of crowd-sourcing in medical diagnosis.

PyBossa Melanoma

Urban Parks is a rather different kind of project. It shows a web mapping tool where volunteers are asked to locate an urban park for a given city. The goal is to show how web mapping tools can be used to address tasks like geo-locating items in a map.

PyBossa Urban Parks

If you want to try the demos and PyBossa, go to and get clicking. If you are interested in the framework you can download the source code from the Github repo and access the documentation here.

The Future

The focus on PyBossa has initially been on online citizen science projects, but it could have important applications in a host of other domains. For one, PyBossa could be used to help transcribe handwritten manuscripts of historical significance and contribute to existing efforts to make more of our shared cultural heritage available for free online and in a structured form.

We have no doubt that there are hundreds of other use-cases for PyBossa which we haven’t conceived of yet, and we’re looking forward to seeing the unexpected projects that emerge from it.

Call to action

Does PyBossa sound like something you’d like to get involved in? If so…

For any questions that you would like to address directly to the development team please use info [at]

Petition the White House to Open Up Publicly Funded Research

Jonathan Gray - May 21, 2012 in Open Access, Open Data, Open Science, Policy, WG Open Data in Science

John Wilbanks, co-author of the Panton Principles and past OKFN Advisory Board Member, just launched a petition to ask the White House to mandate free access to publicly funded research in the US. Here’s what it says:

We believe in the power of the Internet to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in human and machine readable form would provide access to patients and caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other taxpayers who paid for the research. Expanding access would speed the research process and increase the return on our investment in scientific research. The highly successful Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without disrupting the research process, and we urge President Obama to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research.

If more than 25,000 people sign it within the 30 day time frame, then the White House is required to consider the proposal and to give an official response. At the end of the first day there have been over 3,000 signatures.

Anyone can sign the petition – you do not need to be a citizen or resident in the US to support the initiative. If you believe in open access to research, please do consider lending your name, and encouraging friends and colleagues to do the same. You can find the petition here.

Introducing our Panton Fellows!

Laura Newman - March 30, 2012 in Featured, News, Open Science, Our Work, WG Open Data in Science


The Panton Fellowships are a new initiative to support scientists who promote open access to data. Funded by Open Society Foundations, the Open Knowledge Foundation are proud to welcome Ross Mounce and Sophie Kershaw as the first ever Panton Fellows.

What are the Panton Fellowships?

Many scientists believe in the benefits of open data. Many have an idea of what could be done to make open data in science more feasible, ubiquitous and routine. But what is often lacking are the time and resources to bring these ideas into fruition.

The idea behind the Panton Fellowship came from Jonathan Gray and Peter Murray-Rust, who saw an opportunity to assist innovative graduate students and career scientists to promote open science. Thanks to Open Society Foundations, the Open Knowledge Foundation were able to announce the Panton Fellowship scheme in January.

Today, we are delighted to introduce our Panton Fellows to the world!

The Process

We received fantastic first-round applications, and decided to introduce a second round of video submissions to aid us in our selection process. The videos that came back a fortnight later featured everything from daffodils to datasets, and were a real testimony to the creativity and enthusiasm of our applicants! The overall commitment to open science was inspiring, and we hope that many applicants will find ways to progress the exciting work they proposed.

After a final round of interviews, we were delighted to offer Panton Fellowships to Sophie Kershaw and Ross Mounce. We are sure that Sophie and Ross will do an excellent job, and make a great contribution to open data and open science. I leave them to introduce themselves below:

Sophie Kershaw

I am in the final year of my DPhil at the University of Oxford, where I am based in the Computational Biology group at the Department of Computer Science. My research explores the impact of tissue geometry upon the expression of subcellular biochemistry in colorectal cancer, through the development of in silico tissue simulations. These ‘virtual experiments’ are implemented through my work on the cell-based development team for Chaste, an open-source, C++ based framework for cell and tissue simulation.

Computational biology provides an ideal testing ground for open data practices, being both data-hungry and data-rich. We require readily available experimental data to parametrise our models, while our simulations produce a good deal of numeric output (and indeed code) that must be appropriately shared if our work is to be fully reproducible and extensible. My interests in open science therefore range from data handling issues, to code reuse, to science communication.

My work throughout the Panton Fellowship will centre on establishing a graduate training scheme in open science for pre-doctoral students, aiming to provide them with the skills and knowledge required to sustain an open science approach on entering the world of research. The scheme will initially run as an Oxford-based pilot before being extended further afield. I am really excited at the prospect of seeing this project develop over the next twelve months and I am very grateful to the OKFN for providing this fantastic opportunity. If you have any further questions about my work in open science or about my research in general, then please feel free to get in touch! You can contact me on sophie [dot] kershaw [at] okfn [dot] org, or follow me on twitter – @stilettofiend

Ross Mounce

Hi there, my name is Ross Mounce – I’m a 3rd year PhD student at the University of Bath studying the impact of fossils in phylogenetics. With a cross-disciplinary, informatics-based approach to palaeontology I’m hoping to wring new insights from the scientific literature through synthesis and integration of knowledge. In the process of doing this, I’ve discovered many interesting and unfortunate barriers to such research, both cultural and technical – thus I have developed a strong interest in data sharing, open science, metadata and licencing issues.

I plan to spend the duration of my Fellowship gathering evidence to document the costs of these barriers to research. I will also attempt some ‘digital data archaeology’ to resurrect, re-extract and revitalise useful palaeontological and phylogenetic data that is otherwise buried in unhelpful, un-useful and inappropriate formats in the literature, and re-release this as readily utilizable open data for the benefit of everyone. Most importantly of all, I shall endeavor to stimulate cultural change in my research communities, via publications and conference talks – to further engender an understanding and appreciation of the importance of open data in academic research.

Palaeontology has come a long way in the last few decades. It is now a highly quantitative, hugely integrative, and surprisingly innovative fully-fledged science. My work aims to complement the growth of this field in the computational space by ensuring that palaeontological phylogenetic data is given its due importance and properly integrated into the wider biological informatics landscape. As befits this fellowship, I’ll be doing much of this work in the open, so if you’re interested in what I’m doing, or want to know more, you can follow me here on Google Plus or Twitter @rmounce.

Panton Fellowships – Apply by 24th February!

Laura Newman - February 13, 2012 in Join us, Open Science, Our Work, WG Open Data in Science

The following post is by Laura Newman, a Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation and Coordinator of the Panton Fellowships.

  • Funding for scientists who promote open data.
  • £8,000 over one year, plus a small discretionary budget for travel and related expenses.
  • How would you promote open data in science?
  • See the Panton Principles’ website for full details and how to apply.


The Panton Fellowships are designed to support scientists who promote open data. Following our previous announcement, this is a reminder that the deadline for applications is Friday 24th February

  • The Panton Fellowships are for scientists who actively promote open data in science.
  • Panton Fellowships are designed to be flexible, and there is scope for Fellows to carry out a wide variety of activities. Applicants are encouraged to propose their own work plan.
  • Panton Fellows may wish to initiate discussion about the role and value of openness, explore practical solutions for making data open, and push for change in scientific practices.

Panton Fellowships are open to all applicants, and are particularly suited to graduate students and early-stage career stage scientists.

Please Note: Panton Fellowships are not full-time positions and are not inteded to cover full economic costs. Fellows will continue to work and/or study at their current institution for the duration of the Fellowship. You should ensure that you have permission from all relevant employers/funders.


We firmly believe that open data means better science. Panton Fellowships were created in order to support scientists who are interested in open data, particularly whilst they are launching their career. The scheme is overseen by a distinguished Advisory Board, which includes:

  • Dr Rufus Pollock – Co-founder and Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Dr Peter Murray-Rust – Emeritus Reader of Chemistry at Cambridge
  • Dr Cameron Neylon – Senior Scientist in Biomolecular Sciences at the ISIS Neutron Scattering facility
  • John Wilbanks – Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Dr Tim Hubbard – Representative of Bioinformatics at the Sanger Institute

Dr Cameron Neylon commented on the ‘real potential’ of the Fellowships to influence practice surrounding open data in the scientific community.

‘Panton Fellowships will allow those who are still deeply involved in research to think closely about the policy and technical issues surrounding open data’, said Dr Neylon. By allowing scientists the scope both to explore the ‘big picture’ and also to work on specific technical solutions to individual problems, the Panton Fellowships have the potential to make a real impact upon the practice of open data in science.

How to Apply

Full details on how to apply can be found at the Panton Principles website.

  • Applicants should send a CV and covering letter to jobs [@] by 24th February explaining as a Panton Fellow, what you would do, make or change.
  • To be eligible, applicants should have the relevant rights to work in the UK, and reasonably expect to be working and/or studying in the UK until March 2013.
  • For further details, see the website
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