What academia can learn from open source

May 21, 2014 from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m. — Johnson Hall, room 102

Scientist, GitHub & Co-Founder, Zooniverse
Watch a recording of this seminar here


Practices vary between scientific domains but all too often the sharing of research software is done on an ad hoc basis between individuals and with little thought about the wider community. With code and computation encapsulating an ever-increasing fraction of research activity, now more than ever we need to develop a culture of sharing and reuse similar to that found in open source communities.


Arfon Smith is lapsed academic with a passion for new models of open scientific collaboration. He gained his PhD in astrochemistry from the University of Nottingham in 2006 and then went on to work as a senior software developer at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute – the site responsible for sequencing more than a third of the original human genome. In 2008 he moved to the University of Oxford and co-founded the Zooniverse (zooniverse.org) – a web based collaboration that has engaged millions of people in online citizen science. In October 2013 he joined GitHub Inc. to work on supporting researchers who are using the GitHub platform for capturing the process of scientific discovery.