Open Science:
Lessons from Open Source

EuroSciPy 2016 | Erlangen, Germany

Abigail Cabunoc Mayes / @abbycabs

import abbycabs


I work for the Mozilla Foundation where I'm
Lead Developer, Open Source Engagement

I live and work in Toronto, Canada


Lead Developer, Mozilla Science Lab,
Mozilla Foundation

Lead Developer, WormBase,
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Bioinformatic Research Specialist, Michigan State University

Our mission is to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all.

Making research collaborative, accessible, and usable.


How did the 'Open' movement start?

“Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society”

Established by the Royal Society of London in 1665

“We must be very careful as well of regist’ring the person and time of any new matter, as the matter itselfe
24 November 1664
“…all ingenious men will thereby be incouraged to impact their knowledge and discoverys
3 December 1664
“ … being first revised by some of the members.
Royal Society of London, Council Minutes, 1 March 1665

Credit, Documentation, Sharing & Participation

Science embraced a culture of working together and sharing discoveries to further human knowledge.

What do these practices look like in the digital age?

The academic principles of sharing knowledge inspires
the rise of free software in the 80s and 90s.

gforsythe CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“Linus Torvalds’s style of development—release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity—came as a surprise. No quiet, reverent cathedral-building here—rather, the Linux community seemed to resemble a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches... out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge…”

In 1998, the Netscape Corporation released the Netscape browser suite as free software.

This became the basis of the Mozilla Project and inspired the term open source.

Credit & Documentation

Version control software: more granular attribution & documentation


Free software movement & the web: software and data is available immediately and globally


Open source: radical participation where outsiders can become insiders

Working Open

Public and participatory. This requires structuring efforts so that "outsiders" can meaningfully participate and become "insiders" as appropriate.

Working Open, Mozilla Wiki

How do outsiders become insiders today?

Think of a place you felt welcome the first time you visited

What made it welcoming?

What does this look like in software?

Open Source Checklist

  1. Public repository
  2. Open license
  4. Roadmap (issue tracker with tasks broken down in issues)
  5. Code of Conduct
  7. Mentorship

What else can we apply Working Open to?



Fueling the Open Science movement with best practices from Working Open

How do you (help)
build a movement?

Project based, hands-on experiential learning

Working Open Workshop

Best practices Working Open

Open Leadership Cohort

Support applying Working Open to your project or group

  • 1:1 mentorship over three months
  • 30min meetings every two weeks

Global Sprint

Two-day sprint around the globe to hack on open science and open data projects

We are fueling the Open Science movement with best practices from Working Open

Open Source Checklist

  1. Public repository - Achintya
  2. Open license - Rob
  3. README - Kirstie
  4. Roadmap - Bastian
  5. Code of Conduct - Richard
  6. - Tim
  7. Mentorship - Madeleine

Public Repository

Public Repository

Make sure your code is available

Open License

Open License

Mozilla Science Lab recommends MIT or BSD



Open Project Communication

Open Canvas



Minimum: an issue tracker with tasks broken down in issues.
Can be: Comprehensive wiki outlining future of the project.

Intro to Roadmapping

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Mozilla Science Lab - Code of Conduct, CC0

Wrangling Web Contributors

Wrangling Web Contributors

New Issue on Atom



"MozFest is designed to be like the web: a place where you can make things that matter." -Sam


Achintya Rao, Alan Mooiman, Ali Swanson, Amel Ghouila, Anelda van der Walt, Anna Krystalli , Arliss Collins, Aurelia Moser, Bastian Greshake, Brian Bot, Christopher De Cairos, Christopher Kittel, Demitri Muna, Fatma Guerfali, Harry Smith, Hugo Day, Igor Babuschkin, Joey Lee, Jon Tennant, Kaitlin Thaney, Kirstie Whitaker, Luke Johnston, Madeleine Bonsma, Natalie Worth, Oliver Sauter, Patricia Herterich, Peter Grabitz, Pomax Kamermans, Richard Smith-Unna, Robert Sullivan , Stephanie Wright, Tim Head, Zannah Marsh

Questions / Comments?

Thank you!