Rewarding excellence in open data MIT News

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The second annual MIT Prize for Open Data, consisting of a $2,500 cash prize, was recently awarded to 10 individual and group research projects. Presented jointly by the School of Science and MIT Libraries, the award highlights the value of open data – research data that is openly accessible and reusable – at the Institute. The award winners and 12 honorable mention recipients were honored at the Open Data@MIT event held at the Hayden Library on October 24.

Conceived by MIT Libraries Director Chris Borg and School of Science Associate Dean Rebecca Sachs and Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences John W. Jarvey (1978), the awards program was launched in 2022. It recognizes MIT-affiliated researchers who use or share open data, build infrastructure for open data sharing, or create theories about open data. Focusing on trainees, nominations were sought from across the institution: undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and research staff.

“This award is clearly for early-career researchers,” Borg says. “Supporting and encouraging the next generation of researchers will help ensure that the future of scholarship will be set by the standard of open sharing.”

The 2023 awards were presented at a celebratory ceremony held during International Open Access Week. The winners gave a five-minute presentation on their projects and the role of open data in their research. The event also included remarks from Bourg and Anne White, distinguished professors in the School of Engineering, vice provost and associate vice president for research administration. White reflected on the ways in which MIT has demonstrated its values ​​with open partnerships of research and scholarship and acknowledged the efforts of the honorees and advocates gathered at the event: “You all play an active role in building the culture. That’s thanks to openness in research,” she said. “We all benefit from this.”

The winners were selected from more than 80 nominees representing all five MIT schools, the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, and numerous research centers across the Institute. A committee composed of faculty, staff, and graduate students selected:

  • hammad adamGraduate student in the Institute for Data, Systems and Society, acknowledged on behalf of the team behind Collection of health information for organ retrieval and donation (ORCHID), the first multi-center dataset dedicated to the organ procurement process. ORCHID provides the first opportunity to quantitatively analyze an organ procurement organization’s decisions and identify operational inefficiencies.
  • adam atanasPostdoc in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), and jungsoo kimgraduate student in BCS, created, This site allows researchers to easily browse and download C. elegans Whole-brain datasets will be useful for C. elegans Neuroscientists and theoretical/computational neuroscientists.
  • Paul BerubeSteven Biller, a research scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and assistant professor of biological sciences at Wellesley College, won the award for “Unlocking the Marine Microbiome with Open Data.” open data Genomes and metagenomes for marine ecosystems, with a focus on cyanobacteria, using GeoTrace and other long-standing marine time-series programs to provide underlying information to answer questions about marine ecosystem function. Leverage the power of contemporary data.
  • Jack Cavanagh, sarah cooperAnd Diana Horvath Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) recognized J-PAL’s data publishing infrastructureThat includes a trusted repository of open-access datasets, a dedicated team of data curators, and coding tools and training materials to help other teams publish data in an efficient and ethical manner.
  • jerome patrick cruzGraduate student in the Department of Political Science won openaudit, leveraging advances in natural language processing and machine learning to make data in public audit reports more useful to academics and policy researchers, as well as governance practitioners, watchdogs and reformers. This work was done in collaboration with colleagues at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.
  • graduate student Daniel Kurlander made one tool Fast access and filtering of images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko for planetary scientists. Web-based tools enable searches based on location and other properties, do not require time-intensive downloads of massive datasets, allow analysis of data independent of the speed of one’s computer, and are available in programs Does not require installation of a complex set. ,
  • haley olsonpostdoc at BCS, was recognized for sharing data from a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) Study On language processing. The study used video clips of “Sesame Street”, in which researchers manipulated the understanding of the speech stream, allowing them to isolate the “language response” in the brain.
  • Thomas Gonzalez RobertsGraduate student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics won for International Telecommunication Union Compliance Assessment Monitor, This tool combats the legacy of secrecy in outer space operations by creating human- and machine-readable datasets that concisely describe the international agreements governing satellite operations.
  • Melissa Cline StruhlWas recognized for research scientist in BCS kids helping scienceA free, open-source platform for remote studies with infants and children that makes it possible for researchers at over 100 institutions to conduct reproducible studies.
  • JS TanA graduate student in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning developed it Collective action at Tech Archive In collaboration with Natalia Nedzvetskaya of the University of California at Berkeley. It is an open database of all publicly recorded collective actions taken by workers in the global tech industry.

The full list of winning projects and honorable mentions, including links to research data, is available at MIT Library website,

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