This month marks the tenth anniversary of Sage Bionetworks. Trumpets, please! Sage focuses on developing community-based knowledge systems of people, data, and tools to identify reliable scientific outcomes poised for translation. These trusted networks provide a diversity of experiences and opinions, so that research is evaluated from many angles and translational solutions are widely useful. They also verify our results, so we don’t fall into the trap of the self-assessment bias. Building on these experiences, we are celebrating our anniversary in the only way we know how – by bringing our community together on July 25 for the 10th Anniversary Sage Assembly.
The Assemblies have been annual events that we’ve hosted and that are designed to engage diverse participants to learn from and connect with one another. To pique our collective curiosity, we examine concepts in adjacent spaces – where few of the participants are experts and all are invited to explore together. This is intentional. As scientists, we are all trained to be laser-focused at meetings – promoting a singular idea that stands as the organizing principle behind our bodies of work (Make data open! Practice reproducible research! Justify your claims!). This approach may promote our work, but it dampens the opportunities for unstructured and unexpected interactions, and creates barriers to engaging people who don’t have formal scientific training. With the Assemblies, we loosened up the formula so we could all get out of our heads a bit. In the past, we have focused on art, education, and climate. We’ve considered the role of the individual in healthcare, research, and algorithms.
You know that feeling of introspection that comes with big birthday milestones? It turns out that the same happens with the maturing of an organization. This anniversary has us reflecting on our past accomplishments, acknowledging our failures, and planning for the future. From that frame of mind, we are bringing this year’s Assembly close to home with the theme: “Open Science and the Role of Common Evidence.”
People are so important to science. We see the need for a diversity of input to turn early insights into stable evidence that can support advancements in medicine. There is an urgent need for more rapid mechanisms to foster this transition. Open approaches can help here – and they can also lead to a host of other issues. This year, the Assembly will acknowledge and evaluate existing open systems – and look to the future that we want to be creating.
Recognizing that our community is large and distributed, we will be livestreaming the Assembly presentations starting at 9 a.m. PST on July 25. The agenda is available at sageassembly.org. Sign up for the livestream here. We hope to see you there!