How the Better Science Initiative is part of the GECO Group

We endorse the Better Science Initiative. This is what it means for us and how we implement it in our group.

Here are the ten calls to action of the Better Science Initiative and this is how we interpret and implement them in our group.

Highlight extra-academic work

Our team members are much more than researchers, from activists in climate associations like POW [link] to open source software developers, and from avid hikers to opera singers. We give space for individual passions outside of academia and support them via flexible working hours and location or partial employment.

Take your time to think

We have informal discussions where new ideas come to life, during lunch breaks, yearly lab retreats, and in our group’s exchange sessions. We also encouraged all to attend seminars and presentations outside of our group.

Put quality before quantity

We put an emphasis on personal collaborations, thoughtful feedback and the quality of our research. We are strong advocates of open and reproducible science and put in the time to implement quality checks and a useful documentation of our code. This is something we teach in our courses and prioritize in our collaborations.

Prioritise thoughtfully

One way we allocate resources in a smart way is by investing in work that will reduce our workload in the future. Implementing reproducible and well documented data and modeling workflows allows for all members of the lab to reuse each other code, and avoids high mantainance code in the future. In teaching, we implement solutions that allow students to check their work independently, freeing up time for meaningful and personalized tutorial sessions rather than monotonous exercise corrections.

Careful communication

In our biweekly meetings, we update each other on our current work with digestable, concise information and give everyone space to raise their opinion. We share how life outside of academia may affect our work and the struggles we face with our projects, but also the exciting aspects of life. We are respectful and ask for clarifications when needed.

Enable a healthy academic culture

We take the time for regular checks on professional and personal development, and make sure that everyone in the group feels at home: from post-docs to master students.

Evaluate comprehensively

Our impact as researchers is multi-dimensional. We strive for lasting science and discoveries. No single metric does justice to the entirety of our work as researchers, teachers, and members of our community. For us, this multi-dimensionality is what counts.

Appreciate the team

We celebrate the big and small wins of the team: publications, birthdays, births, and other important steps of our professional life.

Distribute tasks fairly

We seek a good balance between freedom to organize one’s own work and goal setting to avoid getting lost. Sharing our progress openly and regularly during the group meetings allows to create realistic ideas of how much others work and expectations for how much can be accomplished in a week, also mundane tasks.

Be a role model

Enjoying life outside of academia is a big part of our lab culture and the more senior members of GECO live by this. We believe that all of us can also be role models in society by living sustainably with respect to the climate and environment but also our work-life balance.

Pepa Arán
Pepa Arán
Scientific Programmer and Data Scientist