By Susanne Kirchen, President of RSG Luxembourg, and Philippe Lucarelli, eLife ambassador
How can we contribute something helpful for students on their way of becoming the future scientists, PI’s and professors? What can be improved in the science community and what should we raise awareness for? These are the typical questions we are asking ourselves on a daily basis. – Who are`we`? We are the ISCB-SC’s RSG in Luxembourg. Doesn’t sound familiar? – Let’s give it an explanation. The ISCB is an international non-profit organization whose members come from bioinformatics and computational biology. The ISCB’s mission is to advance the understanding of living systems through computation and for communicating scientific advances worldwide. As such, the ISCB highly supports open access, reuse, integration, and distillation of the publicly-funded archival scientific and technical research literature, and for the infrastructure to achieve that goal. While the ISCB targets rather professional researchers, the ISCB’s student council (ISCB-SC) promotes the development of the next generation of computational biologists. To best suit local needs, the Student Council has taken up the initiative of establishing Regional Student Groups (RSGs). We see these regional groups of students as local windows to global opportunities and to date, RSG within 26 countries have been established, including Luxembourg.
Here we are, the ISCB-SC RSG, or simply the RSG Luxembourg.
Since our foundation in 2015, the RSG Luxembourg provides a platform for students and early career research from various institutes in Luxembourg. Our board consists of PhD and master students who, on a voluntary base, organize talks, workshops, discussion rounds and symposia on specific research topics that are beneficial to students. On one of our monthly brainstorming session for new event ideas, we found ourselves debating about Open Science and scientific publishing. Although the term Open Science is in everyone’s mouth, we had different concepts of the pillars of Open Science and its recent challenges. In collaboration with the eLife Ambassador Philippe Lucarelli, we had the idea on initializing a scientific meeting addressing scientific publishing and reproducibility processes, and which most importantly give students the opportunity to ask and discuss their questions and opinions in this field. On Tuesday 8th of May, we translated our idea into action.
The seminar entitled “Revolution in journal publication” was held at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine and round 40 early to late career scientists joined the seminar. Our invited speaker, Kora Korzec from eLife introduced us to the latest insights on why and how to publish and use eLife, followed by an open and highly interactive discussion. The main interest of students was towards easier and free publication access, novel publishing models together with new reviewing schemes. Questions about pre-print, open access journals with innovative fees schemes, blind and double-blind reviewing, and transparent peer reviewing formed key part of the discussion. During this interactive session it became clear that one of the main aims of eLife besides publishing current research, is to advocate reproducible and open science. As a young researcher, we are acquiring so much knowledge and technical skills, but we are rarely taught how to be open and to how to share research outcomes in a fair manner. Retrospectively, we therefore highly appreciate that this gap has been filled and that we are now better prepared to promote our research openly.