Open Science Week Pt 1: Ashley Farley from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Our first curator for Open Science Week is Ashley Farley (@ashleydfarley),  Associate Officer of Knowledge & Research Services at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We asked Ashley our usual questions; here’s her story.


I became fascinated with nature and science at a young age. I loved the idea of experimentation and observation. I was active in clubs and camps that focused on teaching aspects of science and my passion for science stuck with me through high school and college.


While persuing my zoology degree has an undergraduate I had a student job in the library. Even though I had grown up using and visiting libraries, it was my first time experiencing the dynamic work of librarians and how impactful their work is among the community. At this point I shifted my career goals to focus on becoming a librarian. Since this time I have worked in both academic and public libraries. By the time I began perusing my Masters in Library and Information Science I knew that I wanted to focus more on scholarly communications and data. I was lucky to intern at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where I first learned about the Open Access Movement. Now I have found myself submersed in the realm of scientific knowledge and research dissemination. I find this to be a perfect way to combine all my passions – science, knowledge, and service to others. I get to talk to amazing scientists and learn about their work, every day. I cannot imagine doing anything else!

The bulk of my work focuses on the foundation’s Open Access initiatives – the advocacy of our open access policy, supporting the publications of our grantees, and leading the implementation of Gates Open Research. In order to facilitate the payment of article processing fees on the behalf of our grantees and track their research outputs the foundation as created Chronos, which manages the whole publishing process. I have been part of the team who built and implemented Chronos and we continue to working on improving the process. Our goal is to make the arduous publishing process easier and more efficient for researchers. We are in the process of launching our Gates Open Research platform, which is another publishing option available to our grantees. Leveraging the technology created by F1000 this publishing model is accelerated and more transparent than traditional journals. I’m very excited to see the first set of articles published in the fall. We’ve recently joined the newly launched Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) to work with other research funders worldwide to adopt mandates like ours. I, also, enjoy speaking at events and conferences sharing the work that I do and sharing my passion for open access. Outside of open access at the foundation, I serve in a more traditional library role by supporting the research needs of foundation staff.


I believe that knowledge is power and knowledge should be a public good. Thus the public can access and reuse knowledge to empower themselves and their community. A bulk of scientific research is funded by tax payer funds and I believe that the public should have unpaywalled access to research articles. Especially, in a time where misinformation is so prevalent, it is important for the public to have unfettered access to primary research.


I love the topic of Open Access and enjoy learning and advocating openness outside of the office as well. During my Master’s I was lucky enough to work on a project within the University of Washington’s DataLab. I still work on the project, FlourishOA, which is a database of journal APC prices coupled with article influence scores. Combining and curating this data will empower authors to compare journals and make informed decisions on the best publishing option. As we have launched the project recently, we are still ingesting data and sharing FlourishOA with the scientific community.


In the last year I joined a barbell club and began learning Olympic Weightlifting. Several months ago I completed my first competition. It was scary, but lots of fun as well! I have an amazing coach and team who inspire me to keep improving. It’s a fantastic way to disconnect from using technology all day.


Ideal Day off? If it’s a nice, sunny Seattle day I would either be hiking or Standup Paddle boarding (SUP) in one of the many beautiful lakes nearby. If it’s a typical Seattle rainy day I would be relaxing inside with a great book or a zombie movie that I haven’t seen yet.


Please welcome Ashley to Real Scientists!

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