On the morning of 1 September, we are holding a PolicyLab event with Michael Nielsen: ‘An open and shut case? debating the purposes of open science’.  We sent out this invitation to those who have signed up to hear about our events. (Sign up by emailing science.policy@royalsociety.org saying whether you would like to hear about events or receive our newsletter and including your full contact details.)

But we thought this subject might be of wider interest.So here is the full text of the invitation including information on how to register for the event. If you can’t make it, we’ll make sure an audio recording is available after the event.

In the wake of ‘Climategate’, a Lancet editorial warned that the call for UEA climate scientists to make their research more transparent was a wake-up call for all researchers.  “If scientists do not adapt to the forces shaping and sustaining this revolution in the public culture of science, the trust that the public and politicians put in science will be jeopardised.”

A year on, the Royal Society have launched a study looking at how science can open up: ‘Science as a public enterprise‘.  This requires understanding what forms of access are required, and to what ends.  A blanket policy on access to scientific information does not take into account the diverse demands being made on scientists.  Nor does it take into account the massive datasets, complex models and specialist equipment involved in much of modern science.  Opening up science is not a simple task, but a challenge that requires discussion and debate. 

Michael Nielsen was an internationally known scientist who helped pioneer the field of quantum computation, whose forthcoming book ‘Reinventing Discovery’ will argue that the information revolution is part of a major shift in how scientific discoveries are made.  This recent TEDxWaterloo talk  gives a flavour of his thinking about open science. 

At this PolicyLab, Michael will set out what he means by open science and why it will be worth a step-change in scientific practice to get there.  Geoffrey Boulton FRS will then offer his perspective on the purposes of opening up science, linked to the Royal Society’s study of ‘Science as a Public Enterprise’.  James Wilsdon, Director of the Science Policy Centre, will chair the discussion.science.policy@royalsociety.org  by 24 August to confirm your attendance.

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