We’re an interdisciplinary team, based predominantly at the University of Melbourne, but we have colleagues from Germany, Netherlands, UK and the USA working on our project too. The repliCATS project is a part of Prof Fiona Fidler’s & Prof Simine Vazire’s joint research group, MetaMelb.
Meet the repliCATS project team
Fiona Fidler is a professor at the University of Melbourne, with a joint appointment in the Schools of BioSciences and History and Philosophy of Science. She is broadly interested in how experts, including scientists, make decisions and change their minds. Her past research has examined how methodological change occurs in different disciplines, including psychology, medicine and ecology, and developed methods for eliciting reliable expert judgements to improve decision making. She originally trained as a psychologist, and maintains a strong interest in psychological methods. She also has an abiding interest is statistical controversies, for example, the ongoing debate over Null Hypothesis Significance Testing. She is a current Australian Research Council Future Fellow, and leads the University of Melbourne’s Interdisciplinary MetaResearch Group (IMeRG), and the lead PI of the repliCATS project.
Bonnie Wintle is a research fellow in the School of Biosciences at the University of Melbourne, and a senior researcher in the Interdisciplinary MetaResearch Group (now MetaMelb). She develops structured methods for eliciting and aggregating quantitative and qualitative judgements from groups of experts, to support better decision and policy making. She has pioneered empirical research on the best ways to obtain more accurate group estimates of fact, and applied protocols for eliciting quantitative, probabilistic and qualitative judgements from expert groups that have informed real-world decisions (e.g., to underpin surveillance systems used in industry). She has a background in environmental science and ecology, a history of working closely with philosophers, mathematicians and psychologists, and extensive experience managing interdisciplinary expert groups. Bonnie is a PI on the repliCATS project, leading the Elicitation & aggregation team.
Hannah Fraser is a research fellow at the University of Melbourne working in Fiona Fidler’s meta-research lab, MetaMelb. She is lead author of Questionable Research Practices in Ecology and Evolution (Fraser et al. 2018), which has received widespread attention (preprint downloaded 679 times). During her PhD, Hannah also gained expert elicitation experience. In 2020, Hannah was president of the Association of Interdisciplinary Meta-research & Open Science, an association she helped found. Hannah was the research coordinator for the repliCATS project in Phase 1, and will be remaining on the project in phase 2 in an advisory capacity.
Mark Burgman is the editor of two books and the author of seven, including Risks and Decisions for Conservation and Environmental Management (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Trusting judgements: How to get the best out of experts (Cambridge University Press, 2015). In addition, he has published over 250 refereed papers and more than 70 reviewed reports and commentaries. His book on Risks and Decisions outlined the foundations for a range of methods relevant to decision making under uncertainty and foreshadowed the importance of expert judgement and elicitation in empirical studies. In the 1990s, he one was one of the early figures in the development of methods for dealing with the human dimensions of environmental management. From 2006, at the University of Melbourne he led the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis and then the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis. In 2016, he took up the position of Director of the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London. He has been the editor-in-chief of the journal Conservation Biology since 2013. The impact factor of his publications (Google Scholar) is 65 and his work has been cited more than 16,000 times. Mark is a PI on the repliCATS project.
Peter Vesk is an Associate Professor and Reader in the School of BioSciences at University of Melbourne. He has a long history of working on generalization and reliability of scientific knowledge before it was known as reproducibility, starting in plant ecology. He is an Associate Editor at Journal of Ecology, the most highly ranked journal in plant ecology. As a founding editor of Hot Topics in Ecology, designed to provide evidence based statements on ecological topics relevant to policy and management, he is keenly interested in participatory methods of providing reliable scientific knowledge. He has > 100 journal articles, with >4700 citations and H=36 (Scopus). Vesk’s research focus is gathering, formalizing and generalizing knowledge for management. This entails attention to methodology of data collection, use and model evaluation. Working on legacy and citizen science data have driven attention to robustness of inference and methodology. Pete is a PI on the repliCATS project.
Simine Vazire is a professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne, and a member of the Ethics & Wellbeing Hub. She studies meta-science and research methods/practices, as well as personality psychology and self-knowledge. Her research interests on the meta-science side include assessing the quality and integrity of scientific studies, the peer review process, and the scientific community at large. She is interested in how transparency and criticism are (or aren’t) used to make science more self-correcting. Her training is in social and personality psychology, and her interests in scientific practices and norms stems largely from her experiences in that field, particularly the so-called replication crisis. She has been an editor at several psychology journals, and co-founded the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS) with Brian Nosek in 2016. Simine will join as PI on the repliCATS project for phase 2.
Community & engagement team
Fallon Mody is a research fellow in Fiona Fidler’s meta-research group at the University of Melbourne. Her expertise is in science communication, qualitative analysis, and history and philosophy of science. Fallon has worked in science communication and qualitative research roles for the Faculty of Science and the Centre for Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA) at the University of Melbourne; and the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health in London. Fallon will undertake the research engagement activity for this project, as well as assist in the qualitative analysis of expert reasoning that this project will undertake. Fallon’s PhD research was to develop and explore a prosopography of European medical migrants in mid-twentieth century Australia, using their lives to understand the ways in which local/national domains of medical practice develop and are sustained. Fallon will be leading the community & engagement team in Phase 2.
Mel Ross originally trained as a physiotherapist and has had a varied career working in hospital rehabilitation for over 17 years. More recently she has moved away from health care and has been working in Business Development and Sales. She joined the team in Phase 1 to assist with administration of the project, which includes helping with workshop coordination and communications for the project.
Ans Vercammen is trained as a research psychologist and completed a PhD in behavioural and cognitive neuroscience, studying the origins of auditory hallucinations. More recently, her interests have shifted away from neuropsychology to understanding why people (don’t) make pro-environmental choices and how to support environmental decision making at various scales. After completing an MSc in Conservation Science, she joined the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London, working with Mark Burgman on expert judgement. She recently joined the repliCATS Project to help coordinate Phase 2 workshops and conduct qualitative analyses as part of the Reasoning Team.
Rania Poulis has had a varied career beginning as a research assistant with a molecular biology/genomics background. She spent many years working to increase and improve gene-specific databases; this included a large amount of international conference organisation for the purpose of improving healthcare under the auspices of the Human Variome Project, an NGO of UNESCO. More recently Rania has been organising conferences for various scientific organisations and joined the team to help coordinate Phase 2 workshops and organise the AIMOS conference.
Data management & analysis team
David Wilkinson is a PhD student in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. David has a background in quantitative ecology. His PhD focuses on the computational, inferential, and predictive performance of joint species distribution models. David will be leading the data management & analysis team in Phase 2.
Aaron Wilkinson has spent the last three years shifting gears from a technical production industry, into psychological science degree. Transferring skills of project management into areas of research in data and neuroscience. Recently returning from studying abroad at Maastricht University in the Netherlands where, he also attend the Replicats and SIPS conference in Rotterdam. Aaron also works as a research assistant at Deakin University under Emma Sciberras. Aaron is an R acolyte and an open science advocate and will be continuing studies into fourth year and beyond.
Elliot Gould is a PhD student at the School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, with a background in applied ecology. Elliot is investigating the transparency and reproducibility ecological models in conservation decision-making and ecological management.
Rebecca Groenewegen (bio & pic coming)
Rose O’Dea is joining repliCATS in Phase 2 to explore data on the comprehensibility of scientific claims. Previously she worked in the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at UNSW as a behavioural ecologist, using zebrafish and meta-analyses to broadly study phenotypic variability. Rose is interested in how academic science could become more meaningful, and is a founding member of the Society for Open, Reliable, and Transparent Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Elicitation & aggregation team
This team is lead by Bonnie Wintle.
Anca Hanea is a Senior Research Fellow based at the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA) at the University of Melbourne. Her background is in mathematics and risk and environmental modelling. She has a PhD in Applied Probability from the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft). She was instrumental in building a COST European network for structured expert judgement elicitation and aggregation, and related standards for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Libby Rumpff is Deputy Director of the Centre for Economic and Environmental Research at the University of Melbourne. Her work focuses on applying participatory approaches to different decision-making contexts. She brings together skills in decision theory, risk assessment, expert elicitation, facilitation, and model development. She is a highly experienced facilitator, and will guide workshop design on the current project.
Martin Bush is a research fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne with expertise in the cultural history of popular science and professional experience in science communication and the museum sector. Particular interests include planetariums, public reasoning practices, the science communication work of the Ngarrindjeri Australian David Unaipon and popular astronomy in Australia in the era of the lantern slide. His recent PhD from Swinburne University is on popular astronomy in Australia in the era of the lantern slide and his essay from the thesis on the Proctor-Parkes affair was a joint winner of the 2016 Mike Smith Student Prize for History of Australian Science. Martin leads the reasoning team.
Alex Marcocci is a Teaching Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a core faculty member in the UNC-Duke Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program and a Visiting Researcher in the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London. He works at the intersection of formal and applied issues in rationality, decision theory and public policy. For Alex’s full bio, visit: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/marcoci/
Eden Smith is a research fellow in Fiona Fidler’s meta-research group at the University of Melbourne. In this project, Eden will focus on investigating the reasoning involved in expert assessments of the replicability, reproducibility, and robustness of scientific claims, as well how concepts such as replicability are used within open-science communities. Eden is also collaborating on a digital-ethnography project exploring the sociotechnical dynamics involved in the open-source development of decentralised technologies by distributed communities. These projects build on Eden’s PhD (2018) research on the historical interdependence of two scientific concepts and their current uses as independent tools in neuroscience experiments.
Ross Pearson is a digital supply chain transformation leader that has been the technical lead for telecommunications and mining transformations. As a delivery specialist, Ross ensures that large projects and transformation implementations are realised. In addition to his supply chain experience, Ross has worked on numerous University research projects. In 2019, Ross completed an honours in Computer Science with a focus on Artificial Intelligence, and in 2020 will begin a PhD at Monash University. Ross is the technical liaison manager for the repliCATS project.
Fazil Hassan (bio & pic coming)
The team who develop the repliCATS platform are led by Professor Richard Sinnott, and are part of the University of Melbourne’s eResearch Group: https://www.eresearch.unimelb.edu.au
Research support & admin team
Andy Head is a research assistant within IMeRG at the University of Melbourne. He has recently completed a Graduate Diploma of Psychology at Deakin University and is intending to commence a PhD in 2020. Andrew’s research interests include the history and philosophy of science, improving science practices, and improving the quality of public engagement with science.
Cassie Watts has ten years experience as a business manager at the University of Melbourne and joins the repliCATS project team as Finance Manager with a wealth of experience managing small and large research grants and consultancies.
Daniel Hamilton originally trained as a radiation therapist at Epworth hospital in Melbourne, working both clinically and in a research support role between 2012 and 2017. Following his position at Epworth hospital Daniel worked as a research coordinator at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre managing a large portfolio of national and international radiation oncology clinical trials. He is the lead author on multiple papers investigating novel radiotherapy treatment techniques for prostate and breast cancer, as well as papers examining ethical issues in scientific publishing. Currently he is completing a PhD investigating the quality and integrity of published radiation oncology and medical physics research within A/Prof Fiona Fidler’s Interdisciplinary Meta-Research Group (IMeRG) at the University of Melbourne.
Aidan Lyon is CEO and co-founder of DelphiCloud and Research Associate in the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam. He completed his PhD at the Australian National University on the philosophical foundations of probability and has degrees in mathematics and philosophy from the University of Queensland. He has held academic positions at the University of Maryland, the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, the Tilburg Center for Ethics and Philosophy of Science, the University of Vienna, the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, and the Australian National University. In addition to being an academic, he has operated as a risk management consultant for the Australian Government and other clients since 2011. Aidan’s research is primarily on the philosophical foundations of uncertainty, philosophical psychology, and social epistemology — with a particular focus on the so-called wisdom of crowds.
David Mandel (bio coming soon).
Felix Singleton Thorn is a PhD student in the School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, with a background in quantative psychology and research methods. Felix’s research examines how people plan, report and interpret the results of experiments.
Mathew Goodwin is a founding and key faculty member of a new doctoral program in Personal Health Informatics (PHI) and Director of the Computational Behavioral Science Laboratory (CBSL) at Northeastern University. He is also a visiting associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School (2018-2020), the former director of Clinical Research at the MIT Media Lab (2008-2011), and adjunct associate research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior at Brown University. Mathew has 20 years of research and clinical experience working with children and adults on the autism spectrum and developing and evaluating innovative technologies for behavioral assessment and intervention, including naturalistic video and audio capture, telemetric physiological monitors, wireless accelerometry sensors, and digital video/facial recognition systems.
Nicholas Dempsey is a graphics designer, and he has designed all the badges participants are awarded on our research platform. Nick graduated from a Digital Media Design degree awarded at Swinburne University in 2019. Nick’s interests in design revolve around visual communication, typography, motion graphics, video and working with brands. In his spare time, he is an avid collector of vinyl records and loves photography and technology.
Raquel Ashton is a qualified wildlife veterinarian, expert elicitor and shadow editor for the journal, Biological Conservation. She is currently monitoring the health of repliCATS as the IDEA workflow co-ordinator.
Victoria Hemming was our first local workshop coordinator, and was instrumental in running our first workshop in Rotterdam where we assessed 575 claims. Victoria is currently completing a postdoc in Canada. While working on her PHD, she was a Research Associate at the Centre of Environmental and Economic Research (CEER) at the University of Melbourne, with 10 years’ experience as a consultant and project manager. She finished her PhD in structured expert judgement and decision making.