Better Science through Better Data 2019

Better Science through Better Data (#scidata19) has concluded. 

Visit the conference collection on figshare to watch the talks, see the slides and download the live scribe illustrations.

If you are a researcher, this event will give you the chance to learn more about how research data skills can aid career progression, including how good practice in data sharing can enable you to publish stronger peer-reviewed publications.

Event details:

Date: Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 1 day conference.

Location: Wellcome Collection | 183 Euston Rd | NW1 2BE London | United Kingdom

Time: 09:00 to 17:00 (GMT).

Who should attend: Researchers, Early Career Researchers, Librarians, Public.

Keynote Speakers

Shelley Stall

BSTBD-keynote-speakers © Springer Nature

Senior Director, Data Leadership

American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Talk entitled: Your Digital Presence

Shelley Stall is the Senior Director for the American Geophysical Union’s Data Leadership Program. She works with AGU’s members, their organizations, and the broader research community to improve data and digital object practices with the ultimate goal of elevating how research data is managed and valued. Better data management results in better science. Shelley’s diverse experience working as a program and project manager, software architect, database architect, performance and optimization analyst, data product provider, and data integration architect for international communities, both non-profit and commercial, provides her with a core capability to guide development of practical and sustainable data policies and practices ready for adoption and adapting by the broad research community. 

Shelley’s recent work includes the Enabling FAIR Data project, engaging over 300 stakeholders in the Earth, space, and environmental sciences to make data open and FAIR, targeting the publishing and repository communities to change practices by no longer archiving data in the supplemental information of a paper but instead depositing the data supporting the research into a trusted repository where it can be discovered, managed, and preserved.

Mikko Tolonen

BSTBD-keynote-speakers © Springer Nature

Assistant Professor

Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki

Talk entitled: Integrating Open Science in the Humanities: the Case of Computational History

Mikko Tolonen is an assistant professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Helsinki. He is the PI of Helsinki Computational History Group (COMHIS). In 2015-17 he also worked in the National Library of Finland on digitized newspapers as professor of research on digital resources. He is the chair of Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries (DHN). His current main research focus is on an integrated study of early modern public discourse and knowledge production that combines bibliographic metadata and full-text sources. In 2016, he was awarded an Open Science and Research Award by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

David Stillwell 

BSTBD-keynote-speakers © Springer Nature

Lecturer in Big Data Analytics and Quantitative Social Science

Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

Talk entitled: Getting Big Data: Social scientists must strive to be autonomous from corporate charity

David is a Lecturer in Big Data Analytics and Quantitative Social Science at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School. David's research uses big data to understand psychology. He has published papers using social media data from millions of consenting individuals to show that the computer can predict a user's personality as accurately as their spouse can. This research has important public policy implications. How should consumers' data be used to target them? Should regulators step in, and if so how? David has spoken at workshops at the EU Parliament and to UK government regulators.

David has also published research using various big data sources such as from credit card data and textual data to show that spending money on products that match one's personality leads to greater life satisfaction, that people tend to date others whose personality is similar, and that people who swear seem to be more honest.

Tomas Knapen

BSTBD-keynote-speakers © Springer Nature

Assistant Professor

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Cognitive Psychology

Talk entitled: How I learned to stop worrying and love Open Science

Tomas is a cognitive neuroscientist whose research focuses on the role sensory topographies (visual retinotopy, auditory tonotopy and bodily somatotopy) play in the detailed organization of the human brain and cognition. For this work, Tomas uses state of the art 7-Tesla MRI techniques. Early-career experiences where he ‘failed to replicate’ previous findings have impressed upon him the need to make research reproducible from top to bottom. Because of this, his lab uses only open methods and puts all their data and methods online. Having invested in these methods, Tomas is convinced that, in the end, it is not a burden to perform open science, rather it provides researchers with great opportunities for ground-breaking science. 


Event Schedule

See the schedule

9:00 – 9:30 AM - Registration and refreshments

9:30 – 9:45 AM – Welcome session

Presented by Varsha Khodiyar

9:45 – 11:00 AM - Keynotes 1 & 2

Presented by: 

  • Shelley Stall on ‘Your Digital Presence’
  • Tomas Knappen on ‘How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Open Science’

11:00 – 11:30 AM - Break for refreshments

11:30 – 12:30 PM - Talks from funders

Session title: Putting our money where our mouth is: How funders are backing up data policy with practical support


  • David Carr, Wellcome Trust
  • Konstantinos Repanas, European Commission
  • Aileen Sheehy, Irish Health Research Board
  • Paola Quattroni, CRUK
  • Paul Stokes, JISC

12:30 – 1:15 PM Lunch

1:15 – 2:15 PM Panel discussion

Session title: Who’s afraid of data misuse?

Moderated by Grace Baynes


  • Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Imperial College London
  • Sabina Leonelli, University of Exeter (remote participation)
  • Shelley Stall, Data Leadership, American Geophysical Union (AGU)

2:15 -3:15 Lightning talks

Session title: 7 data sharing stories


  1. Barbara McGillivray, The Alan Turing Institute and University of Cambridge
  2. Leo Lahti, University of Turku 
  3. Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden, TU Delft
  4. Graham Addis, Nuffield Department of Experimental Medicine
  5. Augusto Anguita-Ruiz, University of Granada
  6. Georgia Aitkenhead, The Alan Turing Institute
  7. Connie Clare, University of Nottingham

3:15 – 3:40 PM Break for refreshments

3:40 – 4:55 PM Keynotes 3 & 4

Presented by: 

  • David Stillwell on ‘Getting Big Data: Social scientists must strive to be autonomous from corporate charity’
  • Mikko Tolenen on ‘Integrating Open Science in the Humanities: The Case of Computational History

4:55 – 5:00 PM Closing remarks

Presented by Varsha Khodiyar

#SciData19 Programme
(PDF, 428.90 KB)

Browse Programme Committee

Dr Varsha Khodiyar - Programme Chair

Scidata19- Varsha Khodiyar © Springer NatureData Curation Manager

Springer Nature

Dr Varsha Khodiyar is part of the Research Data team working on research data publishing initiatives at Springer Nature. Varsha is Data Curation Editor for the journal Scientific Data, and leads the team of curators working on Springer Nature’s Research Data Support service. Varsha contributes to the design, development and delivery of Springer Nature’s research data training workshops, and is responsible for the recommended repository list used at Springer Nature. Dr Khodiyar began her career in curation with the Human Gene Nomenclature Committee, assigning official names to human genes for the Human Genome Project. After completion of the Human Genome Project, she joined the Gene Ontology project, distilling findings from the literature into machine readable data. During this time she also developed and taught an MSc module on data curation for University College London. Varsha’s career in publishing began at the journal F1000Research where she worked on research data initiatives, prior to joining Scientific Data.

Mr David Carr

P_David_Carr_circlecrop_100x80Programme Manager – Open Research

Wellcome Trust

David Carr is Programme Manager for Open Research at the Wellcome Trust, where he is responsible for developing and taking forward a range of activities to maximise the availability and re-use of research outputs – including publications, datasets, software and materials. Previously, David worked as a Policy Adviser at Wellcome – leading on work to develop and communicate policy in several areas – including data sharing, open access publishing, biosecurity and genomics. In 2001, David worked on secondment at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, where he assisted in the preparation of the Advisory Committee on Health Research (ACHR) report on Genomics and World Health. Prior to joining the Trust in 1999, David worked as a project researcher at a scientific consultancy firm in Cambridge. He has undergraduate and master’s degrees in genetics from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Helena Cousijn

SciData19 - Helena Cosijn © Springer NatureCommunity Engagement and Communications Director


Helena Cousijn works as Community Engagement and Communications Director for DataCite, a leading global non-profit organisation that provides persistent identifiers (DOIs) for research data. She is responsible for all DataCite's outreach activities. She's committed to DataCite's mission of enabling data sharing and reuse and is especially passionate about data citation. Before joining DataCite, Helena worked as Senior Product Manager for Research Data Management Solutions at Elsevier. She holds a DPhil in Neuroscience from the University of Oxford. Helena is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Dr Kirstie Whitaker

P_Kristie_Whitaker_circlecrop_100x80Research Fellow

The Alan Turing Institute

Kirstie Whitaker is a research fellow at the Alan Turing Institute and senior research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. Her work covers a broad range of interests and methods, but the driving principle is to improve the lives of people with mental health disorders. Dr Whitaker uses magnetic resonance imaging to study child and adolescent brain development and participatory citizen science to educate non-autistic people about how they can better support autistic friends and colleagues. She is the lead developer of "The Turing Way", an openly developed educational resource to enable more reproducible data science. Kirstie is a passionate advocate for making science "open for all" by promoting equity and inclusion for people from diverse backgrounds, and by changing the academic incentive structure to reward collaborative working. She is the chair of the Turing Institute's Ethics Advisory Group, a Fulbright scholarship alumna and was a 2016/17 Mozilla Fellow for Science. Kirstie was named, with her collaborator Petra Vertes, as a 2016 Global Thinker by Foreign Policy magazine.

Dr Emma Ganley

P_Emma_Ganley_circlecrop_100x80Independent Data and Editorial Consultant

Emma Ganley is an independent consultant with many years of experience in both Editorial and Data Publishing. Until very recently Emma was Chief Editor of PLOS Biology. During her time at PLOS Emma was one of the team to define and implement the updated PLOS Data policy. She led the PLOS data program for many years providing advice both within the organisation and externally to funders and other publishers about data policy implementation. Initially trained as a scientist with a PhD in Molecular Biology from the MRC-LMB in Cambridge followed by postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley, Emma moved into science publishing joining PLOS Biology in 2005. Emma re-joined PLOS in 2012 after some years in New York where she was Executive Editor of the Journal of Cell Biology at Rockefeller University Press. Emma has long been involved in efforts to ensure the highest level of scientific integrity via data presentation and making data available alongside publications; she has been involved in initiatives to visualise original microscopy image data first with the development of the JCB DataViewer and subsequently as a Project Manager for the Open Microscopy Environment. She oversaw many projects at PLOS related to Open Science, Open Data, publishing ethics and mechanisms to improve research assessment. Emma is currently Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for, and an active participant in various Force11 and RDA working groups.

Ms Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden

Scidata19- Yasemin Turkyilmaz © Springer NatureData Steward - Faulty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

TU Delft

Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden works as the Data Steward at the TU Delft Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. She obtained her MSc degree at Radboud University Nijmegen from the program ‘Molecular Mechanisms of Disease’. Then, she did her PhD at the Molecular Genetics Department of Erasmus MC Rotterdam where she studied UV-induced DNA damage repair using proteomics and live cell imaging approaches. During her academic journey, she daily managed data during acquisition, analysis, and publication stages and therefore she has a good understanding of researchers’ perspective and experiences about data management. As a Data Steward, she provides customized and discipline-specific data management support to researchers at every stage of the research lifecycle, with the eventual goal of achieving a cultural change in research data management at daily practice. She is also the Community Manager of TU Delft’s Data Champions initiative.

Dr Fiona Reddington

P_Fiona_Reddington_circlecrop_140x200Head of Population, Prevention & Behavioural Research Funding

Cancer Research UK

Fiona obtained her BSc (Pharmacology) at University College Dublin and her PhD (Neurophysiology) from Kings College London (UMDS). From there, Fiona joined the NHS as a project manager and went on to manage a Cancer Centre at University College London. Management roles at a national cancer network and the National Cancer Research Institute Informatics Initiative followed where Fiona was part of the team to win the inaugural Times Higher Research project of the Year award. Fiona joined Cancer Research UK in 2008. She has responsibility for the Cancer Research UK research portfolio in the areas of population research, prevention and early diagnosis. She represents the charity on matters relating to data sharing and the management boards of a number of external initiatives such as the UK Prevention Research Partnership and UKCRC Public Health Centres of Excellence.