Open Science at CMU Newsletter - August 2020


We hope you all had a great summer and your preparation for the new semester is going well! We have been keeping busy preparing for our AIDR and Open Science Symposiums in October, as well as our Fall workshop series. You can find information about all of these events and training opportunities below. You can also learn about how to take advantage of our digital tools for documenting any type of research (not just STEM!) and hear some thoughts from a few of our Open Science team members on Open Science, Open Data, and Evidence Synthesis.

Contact us at and follow us on social media at #CMUOpenScience.

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Save the Date for Virtual AIDR and Open Science Symposiums in October

The AIDR and Open Science Symposiums are happening virtually on October 19th and 20th. We have a great list of speakers lined up so far and are excited to share an updated speaker list and registration information next month!

LabArchives and for Documenting Research for STEM and the Humanities


Did you know that our digital tools are not just useful for documenting STEM research but can be used for other types of research as well?

All CMU students, staff, and faculty have free access to LabArchives, an electronic research notebook (ERN). Sometimes you will also see it referred to as an Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN), but we like to emphasize that a digital notebook is useful for research in all subject areas, not just research that happens in a lab. Everyone at CMU also has free access to, a platform for documenting research protocols.

In the following blog posts, you can learn about how CMU Libraries' Dr. Hannah Gunderman, Research Data Management Consultant and humanities researcher, uses these two platforms to document her research on science fiction!

If you are a STEM researcher, now might be the perfect time to take the plunge and move your documentation from traditional paper lab notebooks to digital notebooks. It can make documenting your research much easier in the long run and is particularly useful during the pandemic. Here are just a few of the advantages of going digital:
  • Create digital protocols ( or notebooks (LabArchives) that can be accessed anywhere that you have internet and easily shared with a PI or other members of the lab

  • Eliminate the need to move paper notebooks back and forth between the lab and home during the pandemic and thus reduce the risk of work becoming lost or contaminated

  • Can use the mobile version of LabArchives when you are in the lab to document your experiments

  • Easily download notebooks rather than photocopying paper notebooks when you leave the university. If you have ever left a research position, you will know how convenient this is! 

If you are interested in getting started with either LabArchives or, visit our Open Science & Data Collaborations website where you can find links to all of our tools or email us at

A Conversation about Open Science and Open Data during COVID-19

The pandemic continues to affect all aspects of our lives, including how we do science and share scientific information and data. In this blog post, Chloe Woida, our Project Coordinator for the Open Science & Data Collaborations Program, captures some fascinating insights on how the pandemic is impacting open science from Huajin Wang, Director of the Open Science & Data Collaborations Program, and Hannah Gunderman, Research Data Management Consultant.

Meet Open Science Team Member, Sarah Young!

I joined CMU Libraries in 2016, and began my current role as liaison to the Heinz College, Social & Decision Science, Statistics & Data Science, Information Systems and the Institute for Politics & Strategy in 2017. As a social sciences librarian, I am broadly interested in the use and synthesis of information and data toward the improvement and evaluation of policy, programs and practice. As an evidence synthesis methodologist, I've had the unique opportunity to support the systematic synthesis and evaluation of existing knowledge in a wide range of research domains.  Recent projects I've been involved with have aimed to understand smallholder farmer engagement with the modern food economy, improve the CPR guidelines for cats and dogs, and identify effective policy interventions to prevent genocide. It's a privilege to work on such a diverse array of important projects and contribute in some small way to better practice and policy.

But how does this tie into open science? Using rigorous methods to locate, evaluate and synthesize research means applying the principles of openness, transparency and reproducibility, in order to minimize bias in selecting research for review, and facilitating updates to reviews when new knowledge is generated. We routinely use open science tools like Open Science Framework to share the methods and products of evidence synthesis, and increasingly incorporate automation techniques using open source tools like R to speed up the process in a reproducible way. In fact, the idea of providing a published pre-registered protocol, a process now used widely to minimize bias and provide transparency to research methods, has been standard practice for systematic reviews for decades. Thus, my work in evidence synthesis has lent itself naturally to supporting open science practices more broadly and I look forward to continued engagement with the open science community at CMU. 

Check Out our Fall Workshops!

We have a lot of virtual workshops coming up this semester to help you get started with data management, open access publishing, digital tools, and reproducible research.

Data Management workshops

Open Access Publishing workshops

  • Making your Research and Scholarship Open and FAIR: Open Access and Research Data Management Services at CMU, Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020, 6:00-7:00pm; Register here:                     
  • Publishing Openly: Understanding the CMU Publishing Agreements and Applying for Funding to the CMU Article Processing Charge Fund, Thursday, October 29th, 2020, 7:00-8:00pm; Register here:

Cleaning Untidy Data with OpenRefine, Thursday, October 8th, 2020, 12:00-1:30pm; Register here:

Getting Started with Open Science Framework, Thursday, October 15th, 2020, 12:00-1:00pm; Register here: 

Reproducible Plotting with Python in Jupyter Notebook, Monday, November 2nd, 2020, 4:00-6:00pm; Register here: 

An Introduction to Systematic Reviews, Evidence Gap Maps and Scoping Reviews, Tuesday, November 10th, 2020, 12:00-1:00pm; Register here: