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Monique den Boer receives ZonMw Open Science Impuls

Monique den Boer, professor molecular pediatric leukemia at Princess Máxima Center,  received the ZonMw Open Science Impuls on Friday June 21st. She was surprised by a visit from Radjash Manna, program director ZonMw, who handed her the award. Monique and her research group made a great contribution to the goals of open science: responsive, transparent and responsible science.

Ambassador for Open Science
The award is associated with a price money of €1500,-, which Monique may use to visit an international conference. Furthermore, she received a trophy in the shape of a crystal ball, symbolizing a future with transparent and responsible medical science. ZonMw asked her to be ambassador for Open Science. “She is a role model for her research groups and colleagues in pediatric oncology”, explained ZonMw.

The award came as a big surprise for Monique, when on Friday afternoon all of a sudden a delegation of ZonMw entered the research department. Radjesh told that she was selected for this award because of the report of her Vici-project ‘Challenging old dogmas: improved diagnostics and tailored therapy by unraveling biology of acute leukemia in children’, which made apparent that Monique structurally supports Open Science. During the project, she published 33 articles in open access, which made the results accessible for everyone. She performed a systematic review, which provides a complete overview of all prior research on the subject. She made her data available and published negative results. This doesn’t happen enough, since the environment is mostly focused on positive research results. By making this openly accessible, unnecessary extra research is prevented. Completely surprised, Monique received the award and stressed the important role her research group had played.

Working method of her group
For Monique Open Science is more than open access, available data and systematic reviews. It is intertwined with the way in which she leads her research group, which is also connected to the Oncode Institute. She stimulates collaboration and shared responsibility for transparency. She achieved this by introducing a system to check each other’s data before publication.  A peer is asked to reproduce figures and tables from the raw data. Moreover, she implemented the structural use of digital lab journals. In this manner, all researchers in her group archive their data clearly, uniformly and accessible to each other. These digital lab journals often function as the basis of groups meetings, so that everybody can think along and discuss whether the documentation of experimental data can be improved. This method is so efficient that other research groups, both within and outside of the Princess Máxima Center, want to follow her example. Monique: “Data stewardship is a team effort with high gain in data transparency and reproducibility!”