Open Phytoliths Community held its first Hackathon to think together about the next steps

On Tuesday 4 October, ICOPS committee members and phytolith researchers discussed responsible science approaches and tools. In doing so, we aim to advance data sharing and collaboration between researchers working on phytoliths. This event therefore aimed to unite the community around the ideas we wish to take democratically to decide together on future directions for the Open Phytoliths Community.

A week before the event, videos were posted by ICOPS committee members on our YouTube channel to feed and stimulate the discussion. These videos are available on our dedicated youtube channel and are grouped in the same playlist. Key issues such as Open access, the application of the FAIR and CARE principles, translation and interoperability of (meta)data were discussed.

Several avenues for reflection and action emerged, the main points of which are listed below:

Training and workshops needed to improve the use of open science tools such as online repositories with DOI or linking GitHub to R software for code publication. Clarify the legal conditions for opening up databases (especially photographs of phytoliths) and software, which often remain unclear in practice with the research environment. The need to translate researchers’ work into languages other than English (especially Mandarin Chinese) to decolonise access to (meta)data and research in general. The design of ontologies dedicated to phytoliths can address several of the problems such as: the use of different nomenclatures (and languages) to identify phytoliths and thus contribute to a better interoperability of (meta)data without being a panacea.

Dr. Henriette Harmse, a specialist in logic description for the Semantic Web, was present at both sessions and was able to answer questions from the researchers and participate in discussions. We also had the pleasure of having Dr. Olivier Nelle, a dendrochronologist, with us, who addressed the same lack of data sharing in another discipline of archaeobotany, and reminded us of the importance for the community to maintain an integrative and transdisciplinary approach.

Written by Celine Kerfant, with translation help from Gabi Musaubach and Emma Karoune.

Emma Karoune
Emma Karoune
Chair of ICOPS

Interested in everything open science and phytoliths.