Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Why I decided to publish my PhD Project Plan

According to Was ist Open Science? there are six leading principles of Open Science: open methodology, open source, open data, open access, open peer review, and open educational resources. If I am to have an open thesis, then I have to strive to apply those six principles to my own work. In the spirit of this effort, I and my advisor, Prof. Penev, have decided to publish my PhD project plan as a RIO article.

RIO (Research Ideas and Outcomes) is a new academic journal, which aims to publish results from all steps of the research continuum. Therefore, a PhD project plan was a very good candidate for it, as it is the first output of my PhD research so far.

By publishing my PhD research plan I achieve several things. First, since we’re being funded through a Marie-Curie grant (No. 542241), we achieve visibility of where the public financing goes. Second, we have invited several known experts to review my submission and we’ve got invaluable comments, which will help us steer the research into a better direction. Third, by publishing the research plan in RIO and sharing it on social media, we hope to attract comments from the public, which again will help me steer my research into a better direction, and might turn out to be valuable contributions. Fourth, we are more motivated to be on track, when we know that the plan is public.

You can find the plan here and even an official press release! This is in a nutshell why we decided to publish my PhD Project Plan. In the remainder of this post, I will share with you some more thoughts on open theses.

Having an open thesis consists of two parts: first, have an open license allowing for the unhindered access and distribution of the text and a second, optional part, which consists of drafting the thesis in the open. By publishing my PhD research plan I am making the first step towards drafting my thesis in the open. Further steps could be, should I decide that this is the most appropriate direction, the opening up of lab notebooks, and the gradual publication of the chapters of my thesis as they become available. For this purpose, I have started using the Open Science Framework to host my lab notebooks and other project documentation. Should I decide that I want to publish the chapters of my PhD thesis, I could setup a github repository and push updates as I write them.

The Wikipedia page on open thesis lists two theses that are being drafted in the open right now: that of Max Klein and that of Patrick Hadley.

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If you’ve read the research plan and want to comment, don’t hesitate to post here, or mention me @vsenderov in Twitter or email me at datascience at pensoft dot net.

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