PhD or no PhD? Discovery of the open science: Celya Gruson Daniel at TEDxParisUniversités


Translator: Denise RQ
Reviewer: Jim Taylor No thesis. Maybe some of you – I saw there were
many students in the room – are wondering,
“Am I going to write a thesis?” Or maybe others
wondered about it years ago. Well, me, three years ago. I was really on the right track
to write a thesis. I attended an elite school, I had done a three-month placement
in neuroscience, in San Francisco, and then, I spent a year
in a Parisian laboratory to do a placement and to see if this was really
what I like doing. Well, that year, after a few months,
I thought to myself, No, it is not possible for me
to do research. Not in these conditions.” So there were several reasons
that made me take this decision. I remember it clearly
when my placement came to its end, my training supervisor,
who was a bit older than me, told me, “So, now Célya,
we can say “you” to each other. But, see, before it was complicated.” Then I had several experiences,
and I had a lot of data, we were maybe going
to publish an article, and the same day, she told me, “You understand, if we publish
an article well, I’ll be the first author. Because, I need this article,
I’m doing a thesis, it’s compulsory.” And that is what we call
in research, “Publish or perish”. Publish or perish,
there is no other choice. It’s even more true nowadays, with research where there is
an enormous amount of competition. And for me, this was simply not possible. And then, there was something else that I experienced
during this traineeship year. It is this real inertia
of the administration. Just imagine: at first, I was supposed to make people take MRIs
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Alzheimer patients. But because of the time limitation, I had to manage on my own
to select subjects, patients, to go to their place,
to make them take tests, at the behavioral level, because I had no other way to do it. And this is what we often have
to do in research nowadays; and this is
this slowness of administration. When a student currently writing a thesis,
has three years to carry out his research how can you possibly want that,
with all those worries, to do things correctly? So, there you go, I told to my laboratory mentor,
“No, I don’t want to do a thesis.” And then I disappeared, I was
not the little soldier anymore. So, I decided to leave
the world of academic research. Many people say that, “Nowadays,
research is sinking.” And it’s true. But I love research. And this is why I did not leave
the world of research, and I became a community manager
for a social network for scientists that is called “My Science Work”. And then, I was able to observe
those communities of researchers or not, talking on the Internet,
on Facebook but also on Twitter. Those future PhD students
who were really telling me the truth about what was happening
in current research. And during that year, I was telling myself that there were a lot of things
happening on the web, a lot of exchanges, but also interactions
and links between different communities. I discovered something else.
I discovered another type of organization. A new way of functioning. I read a book
that influenced me tremendously by Joel de Rosnais, entitled “Surfing on life,
Surviving in a fluid society”. And nowadays, that’s what’s happening. There are new modes of organization
that are set, with strong values. Values such as being open,
sharing, and being transparent. And these are the values
that allow us to survive. I discovered something else – it’s OuiShare, some of you may know it – it’s a community, a collective,
gathered around collaborative economy. That is to say, they think,
but they also act, and attempt to create new ways
of consuming and producing. So I will tell you the story of OuiShare. OuiShare, in January 2012,
was a small group of 15 people who gathered in a kitchen,
in Belleville and who said, “Well, we need to do something. “We need to develop
this concept of collaborative economy.” Then, in May 2012,
so, a bit more than a year ago, they already connected
with other people from all over Europe, and organized the first event
in a co-working space in Paris called The Mutiny. An event where everybody met up and tried
to build together future projects. And then, last May,
not far from here, at Cabaret Sauvage– Imagine, an event organized by OuiShare over three days,
with more than 500 participants; I had the opportunity to be part of it. And I swear that seeing
those people from all around the world, from the USA, but also
from Germany, Barcelona, Rome, Being able to gather, talk,
and get things moving well, it’s just wonderful, and it makes you want to do
those things in the world of research. So, it does exist,
and that’s what’s called Open Science. It is the creation of research that is
open, transparent, and collaborative. The word is English, the concept already
exists in English-speaking countries, but it seldom gets used in France. This is the reason why I thought
we had to do something. And that’s when HackYourPhd was born. So, it started with a Facebook post. Last July, I was at work, and there is someone
who is very important to me, who worked with me and said, “But Célya,
you are so passionate about research. Why don’t you write a thesis?” So I thought, it’s true,
I was asking myself many questions, I was taking many courses,
I had written a research report. And I created this thread
on Facebook, where I said, “If I were to do a thesis,
it would be crowdfunded,” that is to say everybody would give
a bit of money so the thesis gets done. Also, “My monitoring and my bibliography
will be made public on social networks.” More, “I will enroll in extra courses,
on online education platforms.” Imagine, that was last July, the buzz of MOOCs did not exist then,
nobody was talking about it, very little, “I will also publish in Open Access.” Free scientific publications
are private or not free. There is this movement which is starting,
with everything in Open Access. There you go,
I posted that in the afternoon, and then, bam, 35 likes, 25 comments. Comments from doctorate students,
and friends of mine who were saying, “But Célya, you’re totally crazy!” “Doing a thesis…
do you realize the situation?” There were also entrepreneur friends
who were telling me, “Yes, we need research,
for instance about collaborative economy.” There were also specialists in education, who were having
another perspective on education, such as François Taddei, who told me
there were areas to be explored. And thanks to this job, I realized that there were needs
and that no one was talking about them. That I had said out loud
what everybody was saying to themselves. Why “Hack Your PhD”? Often we think the hacker is a pirate. That’s the one
on the Internet who’s hiding, we don’t really know
what he’s doing; it’s the cyber-war. That’s the ideas that we often have. But “hacker”, let’s better understand
the term, is someone who is curious, who’s searching, testing, and fiddling. In a recent documentary, Jeremy Zimmerman
from “la Quadrature Du Net”, in the documentary
“Une contre histoire des Internets,” said that hacking was scientific approach
dealing with a problem, wondering “Why?”and “How?”, who finds solutions
through trials and errors. In the same documentary,
Jeff Jarvis says, “A hacker’s ethics is one where you can bypass issues
instead of dealing with them.” And that’s the idea with “Hack Your PhD”. We are a community
of researchers, non-researchers, and we try to think
of new ways of doing research, but we also organize workshops,
because we need to take action. And here is what it looks like, (Video) [WithOut Model] [What if tomorrow
science will be open to everyone?] [One evening, three workshops] So, that was last February. We were around 30 people, at the CRI,
The Centre of Interdisciplinary Research, thinking about the science of tomorrow
and how to make it more accessible. There were doctorate students,
there were researchers, but there were also entrepreneurs,
designers, developers. And we were thinking together.
And that’s what’s important today, To try to create
those new research practice together, more open, transparent, and collaborative. And that’s why we also need to find new ideas people,
who are experienced. That’s why, the next step
for Hack Your PhD, is “Hack Your PhD in the USA” a trip about investigation, inquiry,
to show you this dynamic open research, that is taking place in the USA because they are
much more advanced than us. So, it’s a campaign,
and we’ll say more about crowdfunding. I’ve recently learnt that we call
that socio-financing in Quebec, where many people
are using anglicisms, so there you go. KissKissBankBank,
a socio-financing platform where we launched this project a week ago. We have 33% so I am not offering
to take anyone in my car, it may be less successful,
or not be as large-scale, we don’t have the 75%
whereas Damien got them immediately. But, if everybody contributes a bit, we’ll take this trip and prove
another type of research is possible. And I would like to finish
by quoting Buckminster Fuller, “Do not fight against forces, use them!” And that’s the idea. It is not to be in a power struggle,
but in a flow relation. That is to say that together
by acting collectively and intelligently, and thus we can go faster,
and invent the research of tomorrow. Thank you. (Applause)

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