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The Scientific Advisory Board

An introduction to the Scientific Advisory Board

The Open Research Europe Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprises individuals who have a strong interest in open science and improving the way research findings are disseminated. The main role of the SAB is to act as ambassadors of Open Research Europe to the global academic community. The SAB will also provide constructive input and guidance on publishing policies, strategic direction and sustainability of the platform whilst also advising on challenging issues that may arise from the Horizon 2020 communities that Open Research Europe serves.

Learn more about the board

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

In honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11th February 2021, we spoke to two women from the board on their experience as female researchers in their field. 

We spoke to Mangala Srinivas (Radboud University Medical Center, The Netherlands) and Orla O'Sullivan (Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ireland).

What inspired you to study science?

Mangala

Orla

"I feel that understanding what we are made of and how we function is                  fundamental to understanding ourselves. And, of course, biology is endlessly fascinating, while at the same time, we understand so little of it."

"Until I was assigned a bioinformatics research project in the final year of my degree I had never even heard of the area. I count myself lucky as this is when I met Prof. Des Higgins whose passion for all things bioinformatics was infectious and inspired me to pursue a PhD in this field."

What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?

Mangala

Orla

"Outside of my family, I think it is seeing members            of my group become successful in their chosen careers.

Being Chair of the Young Academy of Europe, and          steering it through some difficult times and hitting          major milestones, has also been extremely fulfilling."

"I have had many career highlights but perhaps my greatest accomplishment was being awarded Science Foundation Ireland Early Career Researcher of the Year in 2019.

This was made possible because of the amazing people I have been fortunate to collaborate with throughout my career leading to very exciting research and publications."

What is Open Research Europe?

Fast publication and open peer review for research stemming from Horizon 2020 funding across all subject areas.
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Do you think there is enough female representation in your field?

Mangala

Orla

"Not at the faculty level. It is disturbing that female representation dwindles as you progress up the career ladder."

"Being a computational biologist I span many fields of research so for example if I go to microbiome focused meetings the gender balance is great but if I attend bioinformatics focused meetings I can sometimes be the only female present.

I think the tide is changing in this regard though as young girls are now seeing women in senior positions and believing they too can follow their dreams."

Have you come across any barriers in your career as a female researcher, and how did you overcome it?

Mangala

Orla

"It is very difficult to combine such a career with family responsibilities,                  due to the travel requirements. It's not just conferences, but often it's the              need to relocate for work.

Even in 2021, the woman's career is often the secondary one in a                          heterosexual relationship, and this makes moving for her career                        more difficult, and that can become a disadvantage in career advancement."

"Honestly I have been extremely lucky in my career to always have great mentors, both male and female, who supported me in whatever path I choose and I can say I never felt “held back” by my gender."

Have you seen a decline in submissions from women during Covid-19?

Mangala

Orla

"I don't know if we can measure this. Certainly, several surveys have shown    that women have spent a lot more of their time on family responsibilities.

These kinds of data often have a lot of variability, so it can be difficult to make broad conclusions."

"I do think the burden of Covid-19 has been unequally borne by women particularly those who are mothers and are juggling childcare and home-schooling on top of heavy workloads.

However I cannot say I have noticed any decline in submissions which to me speaks volumes as to how amazing women are and how good we are at adapting to change."

Do you have any advice for young female researchers?

What are you hoping to achieve as part of the Scientific Advisory Board for Open Research Europe?

Mangala

Orla

"I would like to make people aware of this platform.

I also would like to look at the different formats accepted, to see if they are            practical enough that they can be used without too much extra hassle, and that negative results can be published."

"I hope to expand my knowledge of open access publishing and be part of the drive to promote it."

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