It's Not "Junk" [Data] Anymore

Kaitlin Thaney (Mozilla Science Lab), Mark Hahnel (FigShare), Ben Goldacre (Bad Science)
Policy & Privacy, Ballroom E
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In a research environment, under the current operating system, most data and figures collected or generated during your work is lost, intentionally tossed aside or classified as “junk”, or at worst trapped in silos or locked behind embargo periods. This stifles and limits scientific research at its core, making it much more difficult to validate experiments, reproduce experiments or even stumble upon new breakthroughs that may be buried in your null results.

Changing this reality not only takes the right tools and technology to store, sift and publish data, but also a shift in the way we think of and value data as a scientific contribution in the research process. In the digital age, we’re not bound by the physical limitations of analog medium such as the traditional scientific journal or research paper, nor should our data be locked into understandings based off that medium.

This session will look at the socio-cultural context of data science in the research environment, specifically at the importance of publishing negative results through tools like FigShare – an open data project that fosters data publication, not only for supplementary information tied to publication, but all of the back end information needed to reproduce and validate the work, as well as the negative results. We’ll hear about the broader cultural shift needed in how we incentivise better practices in the lab and how companies like Digital Science are working to use technology to push those levers to address the social issue. The session will also include a look at the real-world implications in clinical research and medicine from Ben Goldacre, an epidemiologist who has been looking at not only the ethical consequences but issues in efficacy and validation.

Photo of Kaitlin Thaney

Kaitlin Thaney

Mozilla Science Lab

Kaitlin is the director of the Mozilla Science Lab, a new open science initative at Mozilla to help researchers use the power of the web to change science’s future. She’s previously worked at Digital Science, a technology company out of Macmillan Publishers, as well as Creative Commons, where she managed their science program. She also advises the UK government on digital technology and data-intensive science and business, and is on the board of DataKind UK. You can follow her at @kaythaney.

Photo of Mark  Hahnel

Mark Hahnel

FigShare

Mark is the founder of FigShare, an open data tool that allows researchers to publish all of their data in a citable, searchable and sharable manner. He’s fresh out of of academia, having just completed his PhD in stem cell biology at Imperial College London, having previously studied genetics in both Newcastle and Leeds. He is passionate about open science and the potential it has to revolutionise the research community. For more information about FigShare, visit http://FigShare.com. You can follow him at @figshare

Photo of Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre

Bad Science

Ben is a best-selling author, broadcaster, medical doctor and academic who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims from drug companies, newspapers, government reports, PR people and quacks. Unpicking bad science is the best way to explain good science.

Bad Science (4th Estate) has sold over 400,000 copies, is published in 18 countries, and reached #1 in the UK paperback non-fiction charts. His book exposing bad behaviour in the pharmaceutical industry will be published in 2012 by 4th Estate.

Ben has written the weekly Bad Science Column in the Guardian since 2003. It’s archived on this site along with blogposts, columns for the British Medical Journal, and other writing.

There are lots of clips of Ben on telly here, and a talk at TEDGlobal here. The Placebo Effect is a two-part documentary series he made for BBC Radio 4. The Rise of the Lifestyle Nutritionists is another. He’s appeared on the Today programme lots of times, Any Questions, Newsnight, Start The Week, The Now Show, Loose Ends, PM, Quote Unquote, Watchdog, and various other things. You can find plenty of it if you dig around on the site, along with lectures, podcast interviews, maybe start Here.

He has given over 250 talks in the past 5 years, from comedy clubs and music festivals to universities and schools, government departments, and more. You can book him for after dinner speaking by emailing sballard@unitedagents.co.uk.

He’s received lots of awards for writing, and a few honorary doctorates.

This is what Google thinks about him, this is what the blogs say about Bad Science. He was trained in medicine in Oxford and London.

Ben is 36 and currently works full time as an academic in epidemiology. He does not see private patients.

Sponsors

  • EMC
  • Microsoft
  • HPCC Systems™ from LexisNexis® Risk Solutions
  • MarkLogic
  • Shared Learning Collaborative
  • Cloudera
  • Digital Reasoning Systems
  • Pentaho
  • Rackspace Hosting
  • Teradata Aster
  • VMware
  • IBM
  • NetApp
  • Oracle
  • 1010data
  • 10gen
  • Acxiom
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Calpont
  • Cisco
  • Couchbase
  • Cray
  • Datameer
  • DataSift
  • DataStax
  • Esri
  • Facebook
  • Feedzai
  • Hadapt
  • Hortonworks
  • Impetus
  • Jaspersoft
  • Karmasphere
  • Lucid Imagination
  • MapR Technologies
  • Pervasive
  • Platform Computing
  • Revolution Analytics
  • Scaleout Software
  • Skytree, Inc.
  • Splunk
  • Tableau Software
  • Talend

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