My Grandmother, My Work, and My Open Science Story

What open-source research means to me

I started my career writing software at a cancer research institute. This was incredibly meaningful work for me: My grandmother had passed away from cancer, and the idea that I was helping someone else’s grandma or family gave me a lot of purpose.

I was lucky enough to work in a lab that believed that sharing data and results led to to the best innovations. But, after a few years in academia, I was shocked to learn how normal it is for researchers to fudge their data or hide datasets to make their results more appealing and publishable. You can even nominate your friends to peer-review your work, and expect them to overlook the weaker points.

They were doing this to further their own careers and pad their CVs at the expense of real treatments and discoveries that would help a dying grandmother. I was outraged.

This is why I joined Mozilla and its Science Lab, which works to make research open and accessible. I want openness to be the norm in research and innovation. Our society is the most innovative when we can stand behind the data, or facts, we publish and share this information for others to build on.

I want to live in a world where our research efforts yield the best therapies and treatments, and not the most prestigious career paths.