Our project began with the idea that the way science is communicated affects the way science is done.
The team that took up the challenge to make this idea a reality is composed by graduate students (master and PhD) of different areas of specialisation: History, Philosophy, Neuroscience and Psychology. Here you can read about our background, motivations, and organisational structure.
Martijn van der Meer, Project Leader
Being a historian, I want to contribute in a constructive way to scientific endeavours. Over the past decades, many historians of science and medicine showed that science is situated in a social and cultural context and that doing science is a deeply personal experience. These reflections make me believe that constructive reflection enables us to better understand pressing issues such as positive publication bias and the replication crisis. I think that scientists, together with historians, philosophers, and sociologists are able to create a more transparent and trustworthy academic environment in which trial and error is recognized as a fundamental aspect of doing research.
Stefan Gaillard, Operations Director
My primary academical interest is applied epistemology, more specifically how humans form the capacity to gain knowledge in different environments – such as during Human-Machine Collaboration. Failure seems to be an essential component of the learning process and deserves far more attention than it has lately received from the scientific community. With the Journal of Trial and Error, I hope to encourage researchers of all stripes to not only be open about “failure” but to publish about it as well. This will be beneficial for both the global research community in general and for those of us studying and managing knowledge processes in particular.
Max Bautista Perpinyà, Creative Director
I am convinced that the teachings of the disciplines commenting on science (History and Philosophy of Science, STS, Metascience) can only be productive for the experimental sciences if we construct common spaces. I envision JOTE as such, and my main task in it is to ask: how can we have constructive conversations across disciplines when researchers use different ‘languages’?
I have a background in the Life Sciences (B.Sc at Maastricht University), Neuroscience (M.Sc at the Université de Strasbourg), and currently pursuing a Master in History and Philosophy of Science at Utrecht University. My task in JOTE is thus to ‘translate’.
I am interested in the history of journals, and more broadly, on how knowledge is communicated within different platforms. The twentyfirst century comes with exctining alternatives and pressing challenges.
Maura Burke, Sustainability Director
As an interdisciplinary researcher primarily concerned with the conceptual foundations of theoretical biology and theoretical physics, I am required to critically assess that which is purportedly fundamental. While the scientific enterprise certainly has enjoyed immense success, I cannot help but wonder if our received manner of evaluating and publishing results serves not to aid, but to encumber meaningful development. I maintain that “negative results” represent a previously underappreciated wealth of relevant knowledge, with consequential conversations regarding methodological and conceptual practices constituting their core. It is my hope that through the Journal of Trial and Error I can work to elucidate the lacunas left in the wake of conventional publishing traditions while maintaining a commitment to transparency and forthright discourse.
Jobke Visser, Secretary
As someone with an interest in nearly all scientific disciplines and a background in philosophy, political science, and psychology, I firmly believe no science can develop on its own: there is not one area of science that can function in isolation. What I love most about the Journal of Trial and Error is its interdisciplinary character. Our journal is the place where the humanities mix with natural sciences, social sciences, and life sciences to create a unified whole and a better science.
Within the Journal of Trial and Error, I also believe no one can function in isolation. That is why, as the secretary, I work hard to keep all members of the team up to date regarding meetings, plans, and communication. I very much enjoy collaborating with my fellow project members to improve the way science is done and therefore, if you reach out to us, I will ensure that you get a quick, quality response from the relevant team member!
Lottricia Millett, Communication Strategist
As an English and Creative Writing student with a keen interest and some academic background in science, I am always looking for ways in which to create an interdisciplinary dialogue between the humanities and sciences. I first came across the ‘file drawer problem’ during A-level Psychology and am excited to be working to combat this and other issues in research via JOTE. I was chosen to be the team’s Communication Strategist due to my varied social media experience. I love that my role enables me to work with scientific data without requiring specialist knowledge. I learn new things all the time!
Sven Rouschop, Strategic Relations Officer
Science is everywhere. Public and private policy, education, politics; science plays a significant role in many aspects of our daily lives. When we try to reshape the way we think about scientific publishing, we, in fact, try to an important part of modern-day society. Conversely, I believe cooperation with policymakers, politicians and other societal stakeholders is necessary for science to move forward.
As strategic relations officer, I am responsible for creating and strengthening the links between the journal and institutions that are not explicitly or wholly academic by nature, e.g. political parties, university governance and EU institutions.
Fleur Petit, IT Advisor
Online publishing comes with many opportunities for improving the accessibility of results, feedback and reflections of researchers. I will work together with Thomas on the digital requirements for establishing JOTE as an open and transparent journal. I do a master in Artificial Intelligence in addition to the History and Philosophy of Science master in Utrecht. Data analysis and visualisation have been an important part of my master in Artificial Intelligence so far, and I am very grateful to be able to apply these skills with the intent to further enrich scientific communication.
Davide Cavalieri, Neuroscience Editor
Although advances in scientific research depend on continuous challenging of what is currently known, the social, ethical and ultimately, political framework embedding academia is rarely called into question among researchers.
I am confident that by rethinking the process of knowledge dissemination, this will evolve to be more open, transparent and accessible. The job is hard, most certainly, but thrilling! I joined the Journal of Trial and Error as a science insider (at present I am a neuroscience PhD student) with these convictions, as well as my passion for mind, nature and sound.
Sean Devine, Psychology Editor
Progress has always been achieved by probing well-entrenched and well-founded forms of life with unpopular and unfounded values. This is how man gradually freed himself from fear and from the tyranny of unexamined systems.
As a Master’s student in cognitive science, I encounter failure on a daily basis. In fact, failure is an essential characteristic of every research project; without it, we do not know where we’ve been and thus cannot know where we’re going.
Unfortunately, many researchers are judged not on their ability to produce good, honest, science, but on their ability to find statistically significant, ‘publishable” results. This produces the same effect in nearly every Psychology Department I’ve visited: a palpable fear of failure.
I joined the Journal of Trial and Error to help counteract this environment of fear and contribute to a healthier scientific climate for new researchers (including myself). My own research interests include moral decision-making, computational modeling, and lifespan development.
Valentine Delrue, History Editor
As a Ph.D. candidate in the history of science, I am particularly interested in the process of science: how science is accepted and rejected by a community. Currently, I’m looking at how the boundaries between science and non-science were negotiated by competing historical actors in the field of meteorology around 1800. I agree with JOTE’s project that pushing the boundaries of human knowledge is a messy process. I hope to support academics from all disciplines, but especially from the humanities, in discussing and challenging our current scientific culture. The aim is to shine a light on the norms in the academic community and see what happens if we find creative ways to reframe failure in science in the broad sense. For example by not only finding ways to productively share negative results but also rejected grant applications.
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