Plants & People

AoBP ECOS 2020 Awardee Chris Muir

"Open science is one of the best tools we have to change scientific culture by incentivizing good scientific practice."

The AoBP ECOS Awards celebrate early-career researchers who have dedicated considerable efforts to advancing the goals and ideals of open science. Today we congratulate the outstanding achievements of Chris Muir (University of Hawai’i at Mānoa), one of three recipients of the 2020 ECOS Awards. Chris’ efforts stood out to the judging panel as a glowing example of what we should aspire for when we conduct open science. Below you can read Chris’ take on open science and how he will be using his award to inform students “why openness improves science”.

“Make science better”

I am thrilled and honoured to be one of the inaugural AoBP ECOS Award recipients. AoBP has been a leader in recognizing perverse incentives that reward bad science, and putting into practice solutions to make science better. I share the same values and am excited to be part of the mission to improve science through transparency. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that my open science ethos and practice emerged gradually from many influential colleagues and scholars who have advocated for transparency and developed tools to make it possible.

Why we need open science

Perverse incentives threaten to crowd out high quality research and undermine public trust in science. Current scientific culture unintentionally rewards malpractice, and even fraud, through prestige, grants, and jobs. More insidiously, the persistence and cultural acceptance of poor methods, such as low statistical power, incentivizes scientists honestly pursuing career advancement to produce bad science. Open science is one of the best tools we have to change scientific culture by incentivizing good scientific practice.

Why open science incentivizes good science and what I’m doing about it

Open science aligns the interests of individual scientists, the scientific community, and society. To implement open science practices widely, we need to inform scientists, especially early career researchers, about why it’s important and empower them by making open science accessible. I will use the ECOS award to develop a Hawaiian Open Science Workshop for graduate students and advanced undergraduates at my institution. The workshop will both inform students on why openness improves science and help them develop the tool kit to put principles into practice.

Useful links to Chris’ work

Chris’ Google Scholar profile

Chris’ ORCID

Chris’ GitHub

Chris’ Twitter

Lab website

Chris’ recent paper published in AoBP

Researcher profile

Chris Muir grew up in Virginia (USA) and did he PhD in Evolutionary Biology at Indiana University. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and worked as a biostatistician at Poisson Consulting and Novozymes. Chris currently is an Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences and the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. He is Secretary of the Division of Botany for the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Chris is an evolutionary ecophysiologist interested in how and why plants adapt to different environments. He has worked with wild relatives of tomato and monkeyflowers, but also uses mathematical models and phylogenetic comparative analyses. He is also interested in developing new computational tools for plant ecophysiologists to make complex modelling and data analysis easier.