Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is announcing the winners of the OSTP Year of Open Science Recognition Challenge. This challenge engaged researchers, community scientists, educators, innovators, and the broader public to highlight efforts to expand access to research for the benefit of science and society. The effort also builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing work to leverage the benefits of science and technology for everyone in America.

OSTP and our federal partners have selected five challenge project submissions as “Champions of Open Science” for their work to promote open science to tackle a unique problem. From overcoming the climate crisis by restoring our relationship with nature to achieving better health outcomes in communities across the United States, the winners exemplify what’s possible with an open, equitable, and secure research enterprise. A list of winning projects is below. More information about the winning submissions can be found here.

Open Science to Serve Communities

Co-developing tools for sharing Arctic Indigenous Knowledge

By opening up the processes and products of research to all, open science can build bridges between teams of researchers and members of diverse communities across the country and around the world. This bridge building can ground research questions in local challenges, while creating opportunities for communities to contribute to the research process, co-creating evidence-driven solutions. The Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) project exemplifies this power.

In response to significant environmental and social changes, Arctic residents have been collecting and safeguarding data to address issues of critical importance to their communities and families, including observations of environmental change, Indigenous place names, and oral histories and cultural knowledge of Elders. ELOKA was established to work directly with Indigenous partners across the Arctic to facilitate the ethical sharing and use of these data. ELOKA’s efforts to leverage open science and relationship building have advanced our understanding of Arctic sciences, place-based knowledge, and support the self-determination of Arctic Indigenous peoples.

Federal Support: Funding support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Open Science to Advance Global Solutions

Curing childhood cancer: Transforming human health through data

Open science can enable collaborations that facilitate the responsible exchange of data and workflows to unlock advancements to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. For rare diseases like pediatric cancer, advances can only be made by bringing together data from all over the world.

The Pediatric Cancer Data Commons (PCDC) at the University of Chicago has created the world’s largest international sharing platform for data from kids with cancer. The PCDC aims to increase access to high-quality data to study pediatric cancer and to learn better ways to diagnose and treat these children. They began their goal of building a world-accessible data commons with neuroblastoma data and have since expanded into other disease groups, including predisposition syndromes and data from long-term follow-up care.

PCDC’s efforts to grow this vitally important knowledge base, while advancing the goals of the Cancer Moonshot, through a commitment to relationship-building, data quality, and sustainability will continue to enable researchers, clinicians, patients, and their loved ones to push the boundaries of research and improve health. 

Federal Support: Funding support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Open Science to Advance Innovation

Zooniverse: Harnessing the power of 2.6 million people for open science

Open science has the power to broaden participation in the process of discovery, empowering community members to engage in and contribute to research and innovation.

A team of astronomers and museum specialists at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, Oxford University, and the University of Minnesota recognized this potential to solve the challenge of processing and analyzing massive datasets, which can slow the pace of discovery. They came together to develop Zooniverse: an open-source platform that would allow anyone with an internet connection to participate in crowdsourced scientific research. Since 2007, Zooniverse has become the largest online open data platform for people-powered research, enabling volunteers from around the globe to contribute to data collection and analysis on a wide array of topics—marking cell structure for cancer research, transcribing historic documents to tagging animals, discovering planets, and more. With over 2.6 million registered users across 90 active projects, researchers can collaborate with diverse audiences, while building bridges between the research enterprise and communities around the globe. Zooniverse’s efforts to develop an innovative solution to unlocking insights from large datasets, have engaged millions of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.

Federal Support: Funding support from NSF, NASA, NOAA, NIH, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Open Science to Advance Education

FoodMASTER: Open science advances education

Open science can enable researchers to reach wider audiences with a range of goals, including creating educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

In 1999, an elementary school teacher and a faculty member at Ohio University teamed up to develop open curricular materials for students in rural communities around a topic of special importance and relevance to us all: food. By using a common experience as a teaching tool, the collaborators sought to make mathematics and science education more accessible to a wide range of learners. The collaboration grew into the Food, Math, and Science Teaching Enhancement Resource (FoodMASTER) Initiative, with open curricular materials to support active learning methods for an applied approach to microbiology, chemistry, biology, nutrition, mathematics, health, and more designed for grades 3-5, 6-8, high school, and higher education. FoodMASTER’s efforts help tap into the universal power of food to create open educational experiences that can reach diverse communities of students across the country.

Federal Support: Funding support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Technical Advancement to Enable Open Science

Project Jupyter: Reproducible and collaborative computational science and education

Open science relies on technical advancements and infrastructures that enable the flow of information between different communities of users—researchers, educators, students, data journalists, community advocates, and more.

More than 20 years ago, researchers at the University of California Berkeley and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo launched Project Jupyter, an open-source interactive computational tool that allows users to create and share documents capturing code narrative descriptions, equations, and visualizations. Since then, Project Jupyter has grown into an open, international, and multi-stakeholder community of contributors across academia, industry, education, and beyond. Jupyter and its community of contributors have continued to grow a culture of collaboration in education.

Federal Support: Funding support from NSF and the U.S. Department of Energy


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