CERN takes to reddit to discuss Open Data

People across the globe put their questions to CERN in an "Ask Me Anything" session on reddit, on the topic of "Open Science, Open Data & More"


CERN researchers took to the social-media platform reddit yesterday to discuss "Open Science, Open Data & More". In a two-hour "Ask Me Anything" session, researchers from across CERN departments and experiments took questions about Open Science and the Open Data Portal that CERN launched last month.

The CERN Open Data Portal makes public the data from experiments at the world's most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), along with the software and documentation needed to analyse them.

The LHC experiments ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb contributed samples of their data to the Portal for educational use, while CMS also made public some 27 terabytes of high-level data recorded from collisions in the LHC. The Portal adheres to established global standards in data preservation and Open Science: the products are shared under open licences and they are issued with a digital object identifier (DOI) to make them citable objects in the scientific discourse.

"As a sysadmin for an ATLAS Tier 2 site, the launch of the Data Portal makes me even prouder to be a part of CERN Science," wrote one reddit user. But contributors wanted to know more about the timeline and implementation of the project, which gave CERN researchers a chance to discuss Portal in detail.

Over 400 comments were submitted during the lively discussion, with questions ranging from "What is the next goal of the LHC?" to "What did you [CERN researchers] want to be when you were nine?". Redditors covered topics from the intricacies of the Open Access system, to technical details of CERN experiments, exotic particle physics and even the atmosphere in the CERN cafeteria.

"There was an overwhelming response on social media to the launch of the Open Data Portal” explains Kate Kahle, CERN’s social-media manager. “So the AMA session, organised by CMS communicator Achintya Rao, gave the CERN people behind this release a chance to engage with the interested public online to answer their questions and explain more about CERN open data and open access.”

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