Democratizing research and science: Ways forward OEW 2022

Tuesday, 8 March 2022: 13:00-14:30 CET

Open Education Week webinar


Presentations and panel discussion

In this session, we will reflect on how research  and science are currently produced and discuss ways we could make them more inclusive, open, and democratic. In the first talk, Dr  Jess Carr will talk about participatory and inclusive research with excluded communities. In the second talk, Dr Christothea Herodotou will talk about how technology can support democratic research by allowing non-professionals to set up their own studies. In the third talk, Prof Bart Rienties will discuss about open science and scholarship in relation to learning analytics, inviting attendees’ to share their thoughts and perspectives.

Talk 1 Dr Jess Carr

Title: What makes a researcher? Doing participatory inclusive research with excluded communities

Abstract: To an outsider, research and higher education institutions can seem ‘elitist’. Yet as funders look to include more communities in research, our practice must change. So how do we engage with communities that are frequently excluded, and break down the barriers put up by researchers who came before us? This talk will explore inclusive research, and its participatory approaches in engaging adults with learning disabilities as co-researchers.

Talk 2 Dr. Christothea Herodotou

Title: Opening research to non-professionals through community-led citizen science

Abstract: A means of democratising research is to enable communities and individuals with no or limited science expertise to design their own scientific investigations, grounded on their needs and requirements. The award-winning nQuire platform ( has been designed with support from the OU/BBC partnership, to scaffold the process of setting up and managing scientific investigations and enable community-led citizen science. It has engaged 230K+ people with research. Two mechanisms support participants in taking control of the research process: an authoring tool and collaboration with scientists. A survey of 150 participants of nQuire identified challenges related to people initiating their own studies such as a lack of time and the need for support, that researchers should tackle if it is to open science to all.  Implications for the design of community-led citizen science will be discussed.

Talk 3 Prof Bart Rienties

Title: Building Open Science and Scholarship in learning analytics: some preliminary thoughts

Abstract: On 21 March the Society of Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) will bring together some leading thinkers in learning analytics and data science to discuss how open science and scholarship can be incorporated into learning analytics culture and practice. Practitioners and researchers from across the world are invited to share their thoughts and perspectives. At EDEN on the 8th of March we are keen to explore your perspectives on open science and scholarship, in particular with relation to learning analytics. Amongst the questions to be discussed are: What could and should EDEN and SoLAR do to encourage open science and scholarship?; What prevents researchers from contributing to open science?; Which learning analytics approaches could (not) be made open, and why?; And what could organisations like SoLAR and EDEN do to make open science and scholarship more attractive and relevant?


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Christothea HerodotuInstitute of Educational Technology, The Open University, UK

Christothea Herodotou is an Associate Professor at the Open University, UK. She has extensive expertise in the evidence-based design and evaluation of technologies for learning (online platforms, mobile applications, digital games) through innovative research methodologies including learning analytics. She holds funding from the National Science Foundation,Wellcome Trust, and ESRC to improve the design of online citizen science platforms and make science learning more accessible and productive to young people. She is the academic lead of nQuire – a citizen science platform developed in partnership with the BBC that aims to engage the public in all the stages of scientific research. She is also the academic co-lead of the Early Alert Indicators project, a university-wide initiative that assessed predictive learning analytics interventions and their impact on students’ performance and attainment. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). She received her Ph.D. degree in Digital Games and Psychology from the University College London (UCL) and her MSc in Education, Technology, and Society from the University of Bristol (with Distinction).


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Jess CarrInstitute of Educational Technology, The Open University, UK

Jess Carr is a Postdoctoral Researcher with OpenTEL at the Open University. She is an organiser of both the Computers and Learning Research Group and the Open and Inclusive Special Interest Group, who organise seminars for their members focusing on a broad spectrum of ideas and expertise. Dr Carr completed her PhD at the Open University; it focused on the use of inclusive and creative research methods to engage adults with learning disabilities in citizen science. Whilst completing her PhD, Jess won an award from Oxford University’s public engagement summer school for her innovative public engagement. During her PhD and before, Jess was involved with Oxfordshire-based learning disability charities and a charitable trust. Her work with these charities focused on self-advocacy and co-creation of ideas and the management of fundraising activities. In three years, her fundraising work raised more than £90,000 for different charities

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Bart RientiesInstitute of Educational Technology, The Open University, UK

Bart Rienties is Professor of Learning Analytics and programme lead of the learning analytics and learning design research programme at the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University UK.