Presentation Open Access

Open communities and promoting a culture of collaboration

Sharan, Malvika

Online behaviour over the last months during the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted significantly. With the echoing words like “flatten the curve” and “stay home, save lives”, we have become more inclined to stay informed about what exactly is going on in our communities. Over the last 30 days alone (in March 2020), 100s of online hackathon events have been launched to promote the development of software that can take on challenges related to coronavirus pandemic. There has been no better time for online platforms and communities to thrive and test innovative ideas for a common social cause. This is a very empowering time for individuals who want to lead a project and a particularly great time for Open Research. It is, unfortunately, also a time when more people will face barriers to open research communities such as isolation, and exclusion, if not done right. In this talk, I discuss that the community culture, when not intentionally developed by the community organizers and leaders, can create massive barriers in Open Research and its community by making them inaccessible to new and often diverse members.

I discuss The Turing Way as an example of a community that is built upon a culture of collaboration and intentionally designed to be open and inclusive. The Turing Way is an open source book project that involves and supports a diverse research community in ensuring that reproducible and ethical data science is accessible and comprehensible for everyone. One of the main aims of this project is to lower the barrier to participation in an Open Research by defining community participation guidelines and the various pathways for contribution. The Turing Way is openly developed and all contributions, questions, comments, and recommendations are facilitated via our GitHub repository: https://github.com/alan-turing-institute/the-turing-way.

As the project is gradually expanding from a small team to a large community of collaborators, the scope of The Turing Way is also expanding to include different aspects of reproducibility, project design, collaboration, communication, and ethics. We invite researchers with experience of leading or participating in research communities to contribute to The Turing Way by transferring their skills and best practices into its chapter. As we continue to work from home and collaborate remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, we specifically invite contributions to our remote collaboration chapters that will be beneficial for the wider research community.

This talk was given at the Collaboration Workshop 2020, organised by the Software Sustainability Institute (http://software.ac.uk/) from 31 March to 1 April 2020, and [2020 Women in Data Science | IBM Code Bristol](https://bristol.ac.uk/golding/events/2020/women-in-data-science.html) on 12 May 2020. Both the events took place online.
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