05. October 2017 IMAP Members Awarded Open Science Fellowships

IMAP Members Awarded Open Science Fellowships

Wikimedia Deutschland has awarded IMAP members Tobias Steinhoff and Henning Stutz fellowships of the Open Science Program to learn about the principles of open science and to apply them in their own research.


The Open Science Fellows Program 2017 promotes opening up research and teaching in accordance with the principles of open science, a movement that enables researchers and society as a whole to access scientific findings. The call attracted 78 proposals from doctoral candidates, postdocs and junior professors of all disciplines working at public universities and non-university research institutions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. With the fellowships Wikimedia Deutschland awards the 20 best applications, among them the ideas of Tobias Steinhoff (GEOMAR) and Henning Stutz (Kiel University) for opening up aspects of their research to foster transparency, reproducibility and comparability in science.

Tobias Steinhoff is a marine biogeochemist working on the exchange of CO2 and other trace gases between the ocean and the atmosphere at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. The data he needs will, for instance, be collected by multidisciplinary teams during his next research cruise with the FS Poseidon to the upwelling off Mauretania in early 2018. Aiming at enhanced public interest and understanding for his scientific work, Tobias will apply open science principles covering all phases from cruise planning and preparation to data collection and manuscript writing.

Engineer Henning Stutz from the Geomechanics and Geotechnics group of the Institute of Geosciences at Kiel University plans to construct and implement a novel and ready to use instrument to explore the shear behavior of soil structure interfaces based on devices that already exist. The entire development cycle will be made public from the very beginning. This includes construction planning and control software, use of the instrument free of charge and the development of regulations for use as well as a database of collected data for further use.

Wikimedia's overall aim is to facilitate the disinterested creation, collection and dissemination of free content to promote education and equal access to knowledge. The Open Science fellowship program was launched in 2016 and is supported by renowned partners such as the Stifterverband and the Volkswagen Foundation. Its specific goal is to support scientists in making their own research more accessible. Fellowships provide financial support of 5.000 Euro to carry out the project but they also include theoretical and practical trainings on applying open science principles to research. Practical advice, networking and visibility of the fellows as well as individual and tailored support by experienced mentors who already use open science in their research, however, is what particularly interests the two awarded IMAP members. Although Tobias Steinhoff considers his project idea as manageable and with clear objectives, he knows: "I am not really familiar with the instruments of Open Science and how they can be used to enhance public recognition and understanding for my research". "I primarily hope for ideas from the mentors," adds Henning Stutz. 'I am aware that my project is ambitious, but open source strategies may be models for using research instruments in the future. However, I also see that getting in touch with Science 2.0 is something we can teach our students early on".
In addition to working on their projects, the fellows of the last round 2016/2017 engaged in a public discourse on open science and, together with their mentors, formulated the 'Berliner Appell für eine offene Wissenschaft'. The five recommendations for action address research institutions to improve the framework for open science and to foster opening science at the institutional level.