To accelerate the generation of revolutionary outcomes that are transferable across study systems and increase equity in science, we need a new way of doing science. Many research communities practice open science, where they collaborate and share data. Open science is powerful for advancing discovery and can be made even more powerful by complementing it with additional practices. The ICON Science Cooperative is going beyond open in the pursuit of knowledge that is transferable and mutually beneficial.
The ICON approach elevates open science via interdisciplinary integration, coordinated methods, and engagement across interested parties. The result is science outcomes that are transferable across systems and beneficial across interested parties. Connect with us to join the movement of science for and by the community.
A set of principles has emerged that can be used to intentionally build research programs that are guided by, implemented by, and beneficial for science and communities of interested parties while striving for transferable results. These are the ICON principles in which research is Integrated across disciplines; Coordinated with consistent protocols; Open across the entire research lifecycle; and Networked whereby the work is designed and/or implemented by a broad range of interested parties. One element of being open is making research Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). However, the open component of ICON goes beyond FAIR data, aligning with the concept of ‘Open Science by Design’.
While the basic concepts of ICON principles are established, the intentional use of these principles together has only recently started. It is not yet clear how to best use or modify ICON across diverse research settings that vary in disciplinary foci, geography, resources, goals, interested parties, etc. There is a need to study how ICON principles are used across domains and centralize experiences, perspectives, and understanding of this approach to science to help others use ICON.
The ICON Science Cooperative was established to meet this need. The Cooperative revolutionizes the way science is done to dramatically accelerate scientific progress while enhancing equity. The Cooperative acts as a centralized entity providing expertise, tools, and other resources that assist the community to reduce barriers that currently limit the use of ICON principles.
The goals of ICON science are scientific advancements and enhanced equity that together dramatically increase human capacity to understand, predict, and influence systems towards beneficial outcomes. To achieve these goals depends critically on developing ICON principles and their implementation with the science community. For example, feedback is needed on what technical methods and community engagement tools are optimal for carrying out highly distributed sampling efforts. The Cooperative leadership recognizes there are challenges that go well beyond our expertise, such as how to most appropriately and effectively enhance equity. While expanding ICON-based research will not solve inequity in science by itself, we aim for the Cooperative and ICON projects to be a tool in working towards a more equitable distribution of knowledge, skills, and resources. The philosophy of our approach is to carefully lean into challenges with community guidance. We expect continual improvement based on transparent intentions, listening, and honest evaluation.
Provide feedback: We value your feedback on how we further enable the community to use ICON principles. Please email ICONS@pnnl.gov with your thoughts on what is working, what needs to be improved, and what opportunities we could pursue.