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Monday, March 15, 2021 News

Erin McKiernan Brings Expertise to New Role with SPARC’s Open Research Funders Group

SPARC is pleased to announce Dr. Erin McKiernan has joined SPARC as its new Community Manager for the Open Funders Research Group (ORFG). In her new role, Erin will work with existing and prospective ORFG members to enumerate and develop the tools and resources needed to launch, oversee, and expand open policies. 

The ORFG is a partnership of leading philanthropic organizations committed to the open sharing of research outputs. It engages a range of stakeholders to create policies that promote greater dissemination, transparency, replicability and reuse of research. As the ORFG’s inaugural Community Manager, Erin will engage with the group’s members and other philanthropies interested in exploring open policies to expand upon the ORFG’s innovative “community of practice” approach to advancing open principles.

“The Open Funders Research Group has such power and visibility in this space. As our membership increasingly commits to leading open research, that is going to ripple out in really amazing ways and other research stakeholders – not just funders, but universities and agencies and others are going to follow suit,” McKiernan says of ORFG, whose members hold assets in excess of $100 billion and give about $10 billion annually. “To contribute to that, for me, is just really exciting. I think I can have a big impact in this position.”

Erin is a neuroscientist who has been a professor in the Department of Physics, Biomedical Physics Program at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City since 2015.  She has a B.A. in psychology, and both a M.S. and Ph.D. in physiological sciences all from the University of Arizona.

In her career, Erin has demonstrated a deep commitment to open scholarship. She has been active in SPARC’s OpenCon community and been contributing to the advancement of open principles for years, speaking at more than 70 conferences across five continents  Erin only publishes her research in open access journals and encourages other scientists to adopt open practices. She hopes her background will help expand policies with funders, lower the barriers to open and enable her to work effectively with grantees to convey the importance of working in open.

“I’ve been not just working as an advocate, but as somebody who is trying to share their own materials and research. That gives me a unique perspective,” says Erin. “I’m very aware of the challenges involved and pressure points that grantees are going to have implementing these policies. I’m also familiar talking to researchers and what is the messaging that will best reach them.”

Erin is based in Mexico City. 

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