An Interview with Martin Vetterli

“My goal is to make EPFL an institution that bets on open science and shared knowledge.“

Three questions to Martin Vetterli, President of EPFL

Why is open science important to you?

The digital revolution is disrupting all aspects of society and science should remain unchanged? Certainly not! Not all the initiatives that claim to be part of the open science movement should be adopted naively, but some changes will be necessary. The digitalization of research requires us to rethink the production and dissemination of scientific results. More transparency and better documentation will have a positive impact on the quality of the studies we produce.

How does EPFL position itself in this area?

In general, Switzerland is cautious when it comes to change. EPFL is no exception, but we do not have anything to envy to our neighbours either. On closer examination, many of our researchers have already adopted open science practices and are at the forefront of how to best share research results. My goal is to explore the most promising avenues and to make EPFL an institution that dares to bet on openness rather than secrecy. I’m sure it’s for a good cause.

How to instil a culture of open science at EPFL?

By showcasing examples that demonstrate the positive impact of certain good practices; by supporting those who wish to explore these new avenues; and by rewarding champions. Researchers who adopt tools to better manage their data and then share them with their peers and the general public will be amongst the most productive and influential. The role of the institution is to ensure that they have the necessary support so that openness does not come at the expense of productivity.

This interview was first published in French in the EPFL Magazine No 9, June 2017