EMBL-ABR Special Interest Group: Open Science

More info and documentation is in our Open Science Framework

Read the 2017 EMBL-ABR Interview Series: reflecting on Open Science & Bioinformatics


This EMBL-ABR Special Interest Group (“SIG”) aims to drive adoption of Open Science (OS) principles across the Australian biosciences community through raising awareness of resources, tools and strategies being implemented across Open Science communities around the world. We also envisage an advocacy role for the SIG, in explaining the benefits and practicalities of Open Science approaches to funders, institutions and researchers, in collaboration with relevant partner organisations where appropriate.

What is “Open Science”?

Open Science is the practice of research in such a way that different groups and individuals can collaborate and contribute to the research, in an environment where data, documentation about the experimental method and other relevant processes are freely available, under terms that enable re-use, re-distribution and reproduction of the research through its underlying data and methods.

Open Science covers the entire data life-cycle from defining the experimental design, collecting samples, generation of raw data from analytical instruments, translation of raw data to meaningful processed data, and analyses to generate the research products.

In addition, Open Science incorporates all metadata surrounding the life cycle, software code and algorithms when used, actual research findings and the publication of these results. Thus, Open Science integrates the EMBL-ABR Key Areas of Data, Tools, Standards and Platforms. It also relates closely to Training, since there is a need for training on reproducible science, sharing of data, best practice in annotation/metadata and interoperability for open science enabling, in other words: Training as a vehicle for Open Science.

Background leading the formation of this group

Both Open Science and data integration were common themes during discussions held throughout the EMBL-ABR All Hands meeting 2016. A common thread in these discussions was the importance of addressing real case studies – i.e. biological project(s) that the SIG can discuss and provide advice on. The underlying concept is to ensure that the Australian bioscience community is involved in the SIG directly and to transition to a model where individual members propose their own projects for discussion and as topics within the SIG.

Taking into consideration resourcing and existing expertise, it was decided that all EMBL-ABR Key Area Coordinators and EMBL-ABR Community Leads should be involved as the activities of the SIG are broadly inline with the interests and needs of EMBL-ABR network. Additionally, it was decided that membership of the SIG would be be available to any other interested parties of the Australian bioscience research community.

Current Members

The SIG members comprise the EMBL-ABR Key Area Coordinators and Community Leads as well as members from Australian initiatives in bioinformatics, biosciences, research infrastructure organisations and other interested parties. International members are also welcome.


Want to get involved? Learn about what we do or let us know about a relevant activity event for this group, please e-mail us.


Goals 2017

   • Set a regular communication strategy and process for smooth operation and inclusivity of the SIG • • Adopt tools to aid communication and project management of SIG activities
Set up an Open Science Framework project for sharing SIG discussion notes
Liaise with the relevant Australia communities in biosciences and bioinformatics and invite representatives as members to the SIG
Start creating a registry of useful raw data resources/initiatives and tools for OS in Australia.
Explore funding opportunities to support a workshop in 2017 on Bioinformatics as core to Open Science and also possible satellite meetings to conferences.
Make official connections with relevant overseas entities in Open (Life) Science, sharing knowledge where appropriate.
Create detailed, easy-to-navigate pages on the EMBL-ABR website with advice and resources for Australian researchers to improve their Open Science practices, also highlighting good examples of existing Australian Open Science projects.