New Charlottesville Nonprofit Helps Scientists Collaborate Aroun - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

New Charlottesville Nonprofit Helps Scientists Collaborate Around The World

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Center for Open Science Center for Open Science
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) - A new Charlottesville nonprofit is starting to have an effect on science on a global scale. It's helping researchers collaborate from around the world.

The Center for Open Science has come up with an online tool for researchers to organize and share their work.

"Our mission is to improve openness, integrity, and reproduce-ability in science," said software developer Josh Carp.

They're calling it the Open Science Framework, or OSF. The OSF is a tool researchers can use to collaborate with each other, to make each other more efficient, and to organize their materials.

"It's a web platform which is meant to take every stage in the scientific method and make it easier to do, more efficient and more open," Carp said.

The OSF allows researchers to share data and code, and do analysis. If a scientist wanted to reproduce someone's work, collaborate on a project, or simply organize their own work, they could do so publicly or privately on this web platform.

"One of the core ideas of science is if one scientist does an experiment and announces their results, anyone else who wants to can do the same experiment and get the same results,” Carp said. “That means sharing materials, sharing surveys, or tools, or software so other scientists can do the same thing with a high degree of fidelity and hopefully find the same thing.

"A lot of very valuable data, which is paid for with tax payer dollars, lives in someone's filing cabinet for 20 years until it floods and gets lost," said Carp. "So we'd like to say if someone is collecting really useful data, and they're willing to share it, anybody who wants to- academic, layperson, business person can use that data do cool things with them."

Part of the appeal of this nonprofit for employees is the downtown Charlottesville office, which is like a tech start-up in Silicon Valley: fun, functional, and full of young people. "We're trying to make this a fun tech-style office," said Carp.

Employees stand in the morning meetings, and keep track of their progress by writing on a whiteboard-like wall. The office is an open space with standing desks, a treadmill desk, and a bicycle desk. "It's an active collaborative office in many ways," said Carp.

The Center for Open Science is funded by private charitable groups. It's already gotten $10 million in start-up funding and is growing quickly.

They're hiring more full time software developers as well as interns. "We're all very passionate about the work," Carp said.  "I would say this is the dream job for everyone working here."

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