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Interview with Dr Danny Kingsley

by | Feb 24, 2021 | Interviews,

Danny Kingsley

Danny Kingsley

Key Topics:Open Research, Scholarly Communication, Research Impact, Research Data Management, Research Policy, Funding Organisations, Reproducibility, Research Integrity

Dr Danny Kingsley is an expert in developing strategy and policy in the higher education and research sector with extensive international experience. She has a particular focus on Open Research and scholarly communication involving aspects of advocacy, professional development, research and communication. She develops relationships across all levels of the scholarly communication landscape. She has written extensively and is in demand to present globally. She is a Visiting Fellow at Australian National University, a member of the Board of Directors for FORCE11 and sits on the Australian Academy of Science's National Committee for Data in Science.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

Way back in 1995 I looked into researcher’s attitudes towards new online journals for my Honours thesis in Science and Technology Studies at UNSW. I then moved into science journalism and when working for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2001 noticed multiple press releases that mentioned open access (OA). I was not familiar with the term (it was new), but I recognised people I had written about earlier and realised things were kicking off. I enrolled in a PhD at Australian National University (ANU) which I completed in 2008 that looked at why researchers said they thought OA was a good idea but were not doing it. This led to a position at ANU developing polices and the technology to manage OA. After four years I established the (now) Australasian Open Access Strategy Group to act as an advocacy organisation for OA. In January 2015 I moved to the UK and took up a position at Cambridge University Libraries managing the university’s response to funder requirements to make research outputs and research data openly accessible. This was a very fast moving and dynamic environment. In April 2019 I moved with my family back to Australia and have since been working in multiple organisations as a consultant.

What topic areas are you most passionate about?

I strongly believe that we need to fundamentally change the way our scientific communication system works. Currently the focus is on prestige and novelty for promotion and funding which has led to serious issues in replicability of the research and a toxic research culture for those working in the sector. A move to opening up the research process and rewarding and recognising a wider range of contributions will create an environment where fraud and poor research practice is considerably less likely to occur, while making research more efficient (less reproduction of data sets, fewer repetitions of experiments that do not work). It will also move the focus away from ‘research stars’ towards a recognition of the collaborative nature of modern research. This will do much to address the research culture problem.

Which influencers influence you within those key topics?

The open research/open science community is very broad and collaborative. There are many, many people with whom I have worked and communicated who have had a great impact on my knowledge and perspective. If I must identify individuals/groups, the work being done at Utrecht University towards open research is exemplary (indeed the Netherlands overall is leading the way in many areas), particularly that done by Bianca Kramer and Jeroen Bosman. Peter Suber has been a beacon of knowledge and innovation for the whole open access community for decades. Someone that has had an enormous effect on the open agenda in the UK through judicious use of his positions at Wellcome Trust, as Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Executive of UKRI is Professor Sir Mark Walport. There are people who are doing very interesting research in this area, such as Professors Cameron Neylon and Cassidy Sugimoto. I’ll stop there but this doesn’t even begin to touch the tip of the iceberg – this is a collective effort!

Outside of key topics, who else influences you?

I have been lucky to have had some wonderful mentors over my career, some of whom may not even be aware that is what they were for me. I have worked with outstanding leaders who have shown through example how to conduct myself in a work context. As I’m sure everyone has, I have also experienced and witnessed poor behaviour, which is an influence because it demonstrates how I do not wish to act in a professional and a personal environment.

How would you describe your offline influence?

I have written and spoken on open topics extensively for well over a decade. There’s a list of some of what I have presented and written about here. Different people engage with information in different ways, so I have written government submissions, academic articles, multiple blog posts, news pieces and tweets. When I was in the Northern Hemisphere pre-COVID, I was able to attend a very large number of events – workshops, meetings and conferences. Sometimes the most interesting conversations are the unexpected ones when lining up for a cup of tea!

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

I’m pretty much open to anything! It would need to be aligned within my knowledge area and values but I have done most kinds of communication in the past – yes, including interpretive dance – so I’m willing to have a conversation about it at the very least.

What’s your best source of information for getting ahead of a story?

It is about making connections between what might seem completely disparate ideas. I cast a very wide net and am on a large range of discussion lists and newsletters. I read articles from multiple journals, and Twitter will often pick up interesting items. I have a very large network, which even in these COVID times is active, and am on many conference organising and editorial committees. This means I am in contact with people worldwide and can often notice something and put people in contact with one another who might not have been aware of each other. I used to be a journalist – that helps.

What brands have you worked with?

Generally the focus on the Open community is on open source and community-owned infrastructure. I have worked extensively with DSpace repositories for example and use Zotero for online bibliographies. I don’t have a position of not using commercial offerings, but I am aware of the narrowing of services in the research information management space to a few key players, and encourage institutions to ensure they have a wide portfolio of organisations with which they engage.

Which non-paid activities would you be keen to take part in if the opportunity raised your profile or delivered value to your audience?

Assuming it is relevant within my area, I’d be happy to co-create long form content, provide a quote, share/create a social post, speak at an event, podcast, webinar or an online chat.

What are your passions outside of work?

I have been a fitness instructor since 2002. I’m currently teaching Body Balance classes. I enjoy the immediate nature of the work – you can make someone happy and move them closer to their goals in a single session. When you are working in advocacy and cultural change it can be a long term and hard slog so having a completely different focus is a good counterbalance.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

You can send me a direct message on Twitter