Celebrating “Open Science” Champions of Change at the White House


On June 20, 2013, thirteen Champions of Change were honored at the White House for their extraordinary leadership in "open science." From left to right: First row: Jack Andraka, David Altshuler, M.D., Ph.D., Rebecca Moore, Kathy Giusti, Jeremiah P. Ostriker, Eric Kansa, Ph.D., Paul Ginsparg, Ph.D., and David J. Lipman, M.D.; Second row: Drew Endy, Ph.D., Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D., John Quackenbush, Ph.D., William Noel, Ph.D., and Stephen Friend, M.D., Ph.D.

Yesterday at the White House, Obama Administration officials honored 13 extraordinary leaders and organizations selected as “Champions of Change” for their work using and promoting open scientific data and publications to grow our economy and improve our world.

A call for nominations issued last month resulted in hundreds of extraordinary candidates across a wide range of scientific disciplines—from biomedicine, archeology, astronomy and medieval writings. Of the nominees, 13 were selected based on their outstanding contributions to a growing open science movement that is unleashing scientific data and information for use by innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs.

At the event, the Champions were invited to highlight projects and initiatives that are helping make “open” the default for scientific research results, and several made additional exciting announcements about how they will continue to promote open science going forward.

In remarks, John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, congratulated the new Champions for their outstanding efforts “to generate, promote, and use open scientific data as fuel for new products, successful businesses, and game-changing scientific insights.” Holdren also emphasized the power and potential benefits of unleashing scientific information for broad use, explaining that “the proposition behind open science is a simple one: more value is derived from scientific results when more people can access and use them.”

In keynote remarks, US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park shared examples of how expanding access to data and information can pay off and highlighted a number of important steps taken by the Obama Administration to expand citizens’ access to the results of scientific research their tax dollars have paid for. 

For example, a February 2013 policy memorandum issued by OSTP Director Holdren directs Federal agencies to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available, and a May 2013 Executive Order signed by the President makes “open and machine readable” the default status for Government data. Park invited everyone to be part of an open data revolution, saying, “We have taken the first steps towards open as the default for scientific research results and with your help and leadership we will keep plowing ahead….”

Read about the Open Science Champions here.

The White House Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s “Winning the Future” initiative to highlight individuals, businesses and organizations whose extraordinary stories and accomplishments positively impact our communities.

Anjelika Deogirikar is a Student Volunteer at OSTP

Michael Stebbins is Assistant Director for Biotechnology at OSTP

Your Federal Tax Receipt