Published September 1, 2019 | Version v1
Presentation Open

10 simple rules to run an open and inclusive project online

  • 1. The Alan Turing Institute


Abstract: There are many reasons why open source projects have difficulty attracting contributors. Current academic incentive structures are some of the strongest. Wanting to maintain a competitive advantage, too great a focus on novelty when publishing papers, and too little credit given to writing documentation and tutorials, all encourage researchers to reinvent the wheel in a closed team. Although I will discuss these barriers, my talk will focus on some challenges that are much easier to overcome. Not knowing where to start. "Imposter syndrome" and the various intersecting biases that accompany (and often underpin) it. Being unsure as to whether a project even wants any contributions. These can all be addressed with 10 simple rules. From laying out your welcome mat, through setting explicit expectations, to the graceful death of your project, these steps will will help you build and run an open and inclusive community-driven project online. (Breaking down capitalism may have to wait for another day.)

Bio: Kirstie Whitaker is a research fellow at the Alan Turing Institute (London, UK) and senior research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. Her work covers a broad range of interests and methods, but the driving principle is to improve the lives of neurodivergent people and people with mental health conditions. Dr Whitaker uses magnetic resonance imaging to study child and adolescent brain development and participatory citizen science to educate non-autistic people about how they can better support autistic friends and colleagues. She is the lead developer of "The Turing Way", an openly developed educational resource to enable more reproducible data science. Kirstie is a passionate advocate for making science "open for all" by promoting equity and inclusion for people from diverse backgrounds, and by changing the academic incentive structure to reward collaborative working. She is the chair of the Turing Institute's Ethics Advisory Group, a Fulbright scholarship alumna and was a 2016/17 Mozilla Fellow for Science. Kirstie was named, with her collaborator Petra Vertes, as a 2016 Global Thinker by Foreign Policy magazine. You can find more information at her lab website:



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