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An interview with Taichi Ochi, newly appointed community manager of the Open Science Community Groningen

Date:07 October 2022
Author:Marjan van Ittersum
Taichi Ochi
Taichi Ochi

The Open Science Community Groningen (OSCG) is a bottom-up initiative launched by a group of open science enthusiasts at the UG and UMCG. The OSCG aims to make research more open, reproducible and responsible, for instance by organizing events and workshops and sharing best practices through its website and newsletter. 

Recently PhD-student Taichi Ochi took up the role of community manager of the OSCG. He has a background in advisory positions, for instance he was a member of the University Council, and he is a member of the Doughnut Party, a PhD council member for the faculty of FSE, and Treasurer of the Groningen Graduate Interest Network.

We are excited to have him on board and asked him a few questions about the OSCG and his new role as community manager.

First, Taichi, what led you to apply for the position of community manager of the OSCG and how do you see your role as community manager?

Joining the OSCG in 2019, I was drawn to collaborating with like-minded researchers to improve the dissemination of open science. As a researcher, one is aware of the importance open science plays in conducting research. However, the pandemic had other plans - limiting my time to engage with the community. When the role of community manager was presented, I relished the opportunity to play a more active role and work towards expanding the engagement of open science in Groningen. Taking on this role, I aim to build on the continuity of OSCG and cultivate the community within the university. 

What do you see as the main goals this year for the OSCG and how do you plan to achieve them?

Beginning the academic year, the aims of the OSCG are aligned towards increasing engagement and facilitating activities for members. During the pandemic, outreach was forced to transition online and interactions with new members were stifled. Moving forward to post-pandemic life, organizing interactive sessions, facilitating opportunities for collaborations and attracting new members to diversify our pool of activities will be key. To facilitate these aims, I look to spend time by chatting with people from across the university over coffee and share why open science is important to them.

How do you envision the collaboration with the existing research and education support services at the UG that provide support to researchers in the relation to open science? 

The Open Science Programme (OSP) is an ambitious plan to further disseminate open science practices within the University of Groningen. The research and education support services provide the first point of contact for researchers. Therefore, they play a crucial role in facilitating open science practices within the University of Groningen. As a grass-roots organization, the OSCG looks to organize workshops and facilitate the dissemination of practices to a broader audience. Therefore, in conjunction with support services, OSCG can act as the bridge to introduce OS practices. 

How can academic staff get involved in the OSCG? What can academic staff approach you for?

Our aim is to grow the community where members can exchange ideas on improving open science practices in one’s research and within the university. As we look to organize workshops on open science and approaches, we would greatly appreciate collaborating with staff members on organizing these events. With greater interest from funding agencies on the incorporation of open science practices within proposals, we encourage academic staff members to engage with the OSCG on introductory sessions for their groups to improve its uptake. Currently, we are working on a tool kit to facilitate the basics of open science and aim to expand on specific areas within OS. 

Lastly, what is your advice to researchers who want to work more open/start practicing open science? 

Research is part of a collaborative effort and by practicing open science, one is able to better engage with researchers on this matter. Incorporating FAIR practices in one’s research is only the tip of the iceberg. The first step is always the hardest but once one starts integrating open science practices into one’s research, it becomes easiest to continue the practices. As the academic year flourishes, be on the lookout for opportunities to engage with OSCG and dip one’s toes to practicing open science. So don’t forget to check out the OSCG website and register to keep up-to-date with our latest developments.

Register here if you would like to become a member of the OSCG!

About the author

Marjan van Ittersum

Marjan van Ittersum is assistant and deputy program manager of the Open Science Programme of the University of Groningen

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