Hi, Coops here. Dr Coops.
In 2009, while travelling the world, I attended a Vipassana meditation retreat in Thailand and became fascinated with the human mind, not least the extent to which subjective experience can be shaped by internal enquiry. This newfound interest led me to study Psychology at the University of Queensland and then complete a PhD in the Neural Mechanisms of Consciousness at the Queensland Brain Institute. During the process of publishing my research, I was shocked to discover that the scholarly publishing system is (a) controlled by profit-motivated corporations (rather than the research community), and (b) biased toward certain types of research (e.g. novel findings, significant effects) at the expense of others (e.g., replication studies, null effects), which places pressure on researchers to act in suboptimal ways. When I finished my PhD, I faced a choice: try to survive a competitive career in academia by ‘playing the game’, or leave my chosen field and try to fix the system from the outside. I chose the latter.
I’m now working to develop open science projects that aim to improve the state of academia. My first foray into this work has been Project Free Our Knowledge, the world’s first collective action platform for researchers. This work was motivated by the realisation that most researchers want a better system but feel powerless to create change on their own (lest they be booted from the system). By coordinating our actions, we can send a powerful signal in support of change while protecting those individuals who feel too vulnerable to stray from the herd. My next project will investigate bisaes within the scholarly publishing system, with a view to developing alternative scholarly communication and evaluation systems that can disrupt the scholarly publishing industry. For more information on these projects, go here. Because I’m pursuing this work without a traditional income stream, I’ll be funding these projects by playing poker.
I also have other interests, that I try (and sometimes succeed) to balance with the above for a healthy lifestyle. These include music, gardening, dancing, rock climbing and spending time in nature.