Reflection on UQ Open Science

Coming from not ever having attending a conference and knowing that this would be a ‘non-traditional’ style I really had no expectations. Complete transparency in my approach to this, I am utterly in-equipped to deal with social situations and the thought of being in a room filled with academics and aspiring academics was certainly cause for concern.

I was nicely encouraged (and thank god) to go to the social thing on the Sunday where I met some cool people, and someone other than Emily to cling to for the next two days (shout out to IMeRG). This helped in the following two days to have some sort of familiar faces in a room filled with people you don’t know. I already had heard, but also really only just realised, that there is a massive drinking culture in academia. Why are the social events all centred around alcohol? Is it to make us forget that p-hacking is a thing and that science is a bit of a garbage fire at the moment? Is it because we are a bunch of shy introverts? Is it because the work/life balance is so poor in academia that the only time we get out is at conferences?

Monday morning was a right shock when we were asked to introduce ourselves in front of the entire group (which to some 100 people no worries, me = NOPE). But I did it and it wasn’t terrible and the spontaneous combustion that I had imagined didn’t actually happen, weird. I think that was the first indication to me that I need to throw myself head first into situations that scare the pants off me or I will never do anything ever. I’m not entirely sure what happened the rest of the day to be honest due to sheer overwhelm, but I do remember one talk in particular probably because there was Rick and Morty references but also because it was on QMPs and I had never heard of them let alone considered that I may engage in them. Turns out I am super into questionable measurement practices… avoiding them, not engaging in them. Potentially because the veganism literature is rife with unjustified decisions. Anywho super important lightning talk ahead about why we should care about QMPs to come (yay conference lingo, I did learn something). It was a blur of everything open tools, diversity in populations, and other things I could read you the name of from the program if you really wanted me too.

I definitely agree that the social things outside of the conference are the things to invest some energy in. Academics are utterly terrifying when you look at them presenting their research and being all fancy. But they are actually also just people. I think we forget that. Or I definitely do. Sorry for the sweeping, highly underpowered generalisation. But yes, go to the dinners, the unofficial social events, and also drink the alcohol that other people buy you. But know that it is also okay if you don’t. Something we can quickly forget as PhD students or researchers in general is that we have the ability to say no to things too. Tuesday I think I was just more overwhelmed than the day before and the effects of being around people all the time were definitely wearing on my ability to concentrate. I did learn though that registered reports seem like something I would consider in the future, and also that some psych’s study some strange stuff. Good for them, not for me. Isn’t research great!! To be honest, I probably could have skipped day two and not been hindered in any way in my takeaway from the overall thing.

Going back to the garbage fire that is science that I mentioned earlier, I am not as passionate about open science as some people in the room, you won’t see me frequenting SIPS anytime soon. I agree with the movement of course, but I can do my own part in the corner of the PhD office and in regards to my immediate research, but I would like to finish this degree at some point and at this point in my life, being involved in all of the other things isn’t feasible. But it is exciting to see people passionate about something. I think regardless of what someone is talking about, when they’re passionate about it it makes an impact. That is the major take away from this, that there are a bunch of people in psychology (and other disciplines) who are passionate, and who are for sure going to make an impact and apart from the brief moment in time where I wanted to run far far away from research and academia (more to my own interpretations and not anything anyone else did) I think it was a worthwhile experience, and I am not scared off of conferences forever as a result. I kind of was.

I am writing this at the airport as my plane is boarding and I was panicking about my bag being over as they weighed them. I am not as exhausted anymore after writing this. I have an excitement that has just washed over me and I am wanting to share experiences and get into my own research. Maybe I am more into open science than the overwhelmed Maddie who wrote that previous paragraph 10 mins ago would have us believe. Anything that instils confidence in something that you are potentially going to do for your entire life is a good thing in my books.