Associate professor Paul Gignac in the department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine has been awarded $1 million by the National Science Foundation to form a Research Coordination Network focused on improving computed tomography data access and stewardship. With collaborators at the American Museum of Natural History, University of Texas at Austin, Carnegie Mellon University, and University of Florida, Gignac's grant is among 10 inaugural projects funded through a new "FAIROS" data open access initiative. FAIROS (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, Reuse, and Open Science) principles embody the highest ideals of equalizing opportunity, knowledge, and education through data access. They are the driving force behind the recent White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Memo prioritizing open science standards across federal research agencies.
"A great deal of basic sciences computed tomography research is taxpayer funded, and those data should be made widely available," says Gignac."I think the scientific community is now largely on board with addressing this need, but how do we make wide accessibility happen?" This is where Gignac's research network, the Non-Clinical Tomography Users Research Network (NoCTURN) comes in. NoCTURN includes more than 100 specialists in X-ray, synchrotron, and neutron beam computed tomography and data stewardship experts from a global community of educators, researchers, and industry members. By collaborating between these communities, network participants will establish data availability best practices, produce research papers, and encourage users—especially students and early-career tomography users—to fold FAIROS approaches into their workflows.
"I'm really excited to see what our network produces," says Gignac,"an international open science movement is gaining momentum, and I hope that NoCTURN can be a model for future initiatives taking on big issues positively impacting whole disciplines."