Announcement | Winners of the Library Innovation Prizes and Carney Institute Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize

This year the Brown University Library and the Carney Institute for Brain Science partnered to create new awards to recognize student innovations in research rigor, transparency, or reproducibility.

Andrew Creamer, Scientific Data Management Specialist and librarian for Computer Science and Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, and Dr. Jason Ritt, Scientific Director of the Carney Institute, collaborated to update the Library’s Innovation Prize, first awarded in 2015, to reflect Brown’s recent focus on open access and research rigor and transparency and to highlight innovations in student research. The Carney Institute Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize was created this year to honor innovations in reproducibility as documented by students in their honors theses and/or publications with Brown faculty. 

Library Prizes for Innovations in Research Rigor, Transparency, or Reproducibility

The Library Innovation Prizes were awarded to publications and/or digital projects in three categories based on methods/discipline.

Humanities and Digital Humanities

Sara Mohr

PhD students Sara Mohr (Egyptology & Assyriology) and Shane M. Thompson (Religious Studies) were selected for their digital humanities project, “The Advanced Digitization and Archival Analysis for Preservation and Accessibility (ADAAPA) Project.” Sara and Shane worked with several subject experts, including Bill Monroe, Senior Scholarly Resources Librarian, and Lindsay Elgin, Senior Library Technologist. The team was able to digitally represent the cuneiform objects in the John Hay Library along with the translations of their texts and accompanying archival material elucidating their provenance. View the cuneiform in the Brown Digital Repository.

Shane M. Thompson

Life and Physical Sciences Category

Adam Spierer

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology PhD student Adam Spierer (Rand Lab) was selected for his contributions to the development of the FreeClimber research software and its use in both a forthcoming publication (and chapter of his dissertation), “The Genetic Architecture of Flight and Climbing Performance in Drosophila melanogaster.” This program was designed initially for replacing manual assessment of the climbing performance in Drosophila (fruit flies); however, the program employs several functions that may be of use beyond the initial design in his field. The program can be accessed from the source code available in the Brown Digital Repository and on GitHub.

Behavioral, Public Health, and Social Sciences Category

Joseph Heffner

CLPS PhD student Joseph Heffner (FeldmanHall Lab) was selected for his dissertation project and publication, “Emotional responses to prosocial messages increase willingness to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Joseph made use of the Library’s new Center for Open Science, supporting institutional membership, and utilizing its Open Science Framework (OSF) for pre-registering his and his co-author’s study as well as sharing its OSF preprint platform for sharing their publication.

We would like to thank the panel of volunteer judges:

  • Lydia Curliss, Native American and Indigenous Studies and Physical Sciences Librarian
  • Dr. Oludurotimi Adetunji, Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Research and Inclusive Science

Carney Institute inaugural Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize

Logan Cho ’20

Logan Cho ’20 was selected to receive the Carney Institute inaugural Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize for his contributions to the project and publication, “Automating Clinical Chart Review: An Open-Source Natural Language Processing Pipeline Developed on Free-Text Radiology Reports From Patients With Glioblastoma.” 

Thank you to the volunteer judges:

  • Dr. David Sheinberg, Professor of Neuroscience
  • PhD student Abdullah Rashed Ahmed (Serre Lab)

The judges commented that “Logan’s application nicely illustrates how open source tools for natural language processing can be used to mine information from clinical reports of patients with glioblastoma. The approach was innovative and, between the publication and the associated Python notebook made available through GitHub, the analysis pipeline was clearly presented.” 

Congratulations to these students for their innovations and for the positive impact they have made on their academic fields’ methodological rigor, transparency, or reproducibility!

Announcement | Library Innovation Prize & Carney Institute Brain Science Reproducible Paper Prize

The Brown University Library is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Carney Institute for Brain Science on two prizes for student work that exemplifies research rigor, transparency, replication, and reproducibility.

Library Innovation Prize

Drawing on the rising importance of rigor and reproducibility of research, the Brown University Library will award up to $750 for the creation of a publication, capstone paper, digital project, and/or thesis/dissertation that incorporates innovation in rigor and transparency in any field of research.

See past Innovation Prize-winning projects.

Carney Institute for Brain Science Undergraduate Student Prize

The Carney Institute for Brain Science is offering a parallel but independent undergraduate prize for a capstone paper or thesis within the general area of brain science that incorporates innovation in reproducibility.

Timeline & Registration

  • Friday, March 13 at 2 p.m.:  Informational meeting the Digital Studio Seminar Room (160) at the Rockefeller Library. (Attendance is not required but is strongly encouraged.)
  • Wednesday, April 1, 2020: Deadline for registration for both prizes
  • Saturday, May 2, 2020: Submissions from registered participants are due by 5 p.m.
  • Week of May 18, 2020: Winners will be notified by email


  • Dr. Jason Ritt, Scientific Director of the Carney Institute
  • Lydia Curliss, Physical Sciences and Native American and Indigenous Studies Librarian
  • Dr. Oludurotimi Adetunji, Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Research and Inclusive Science

Innovation in Reproducibility

An example of innovation in reproducibility is linking data, analysis code, and figures/visualizations within a single document file that can be opened, read, and executed by the panel of judges using commonly available, preferably open source applications (e.g., Jupyter notebooks in a generic web browser).

Rigor & Transparency

Projects with enhanced rigor and transparency could include:

  • Curating and publicly sharing a data set
  • Pre-registration and sharing of a protocol
  • Sharing and containerization (e.g., Docker or Singularity) of analysis code and other computing environment related technologies
  • Incorporating an “Annotation for Transparent Inquiry (ATI) Data Supplement” for transparency in qualitative data analysis

More information:


  • Library prize contestants must be currently enrolled Brown undergraduate or graduate students. The Carney prize is restricted to Brown undergraduates.
  • Projects may be created by individuals or teams. The projects should be new or created in the past calendar year (2019).
  • There are no limits on coding languages or tools to create the reproducible paper.
  • The research must be the contestants’ original work. You may submit original work that you complete for a capstone paper for a course or an honors thesis or thesis at Brown.
  • Winning projects remain the intellectual property of the contestant(s), but the winning contestant(s) will grant a non­exclusive perpetual license to Brown University for its internal, non­-commercial use.
  • A panel of judges selected from faculty and Library staff will determine the winners.

Contact Information

  • For additional information, please contact Andrew Creamer at
  • For questions on reproducible documents and their implementation, registered participants may contact Dr. Jason Ritt, Scientific Director of Quantitative Neuroscience in Brown’s Carney Institute for Brain Science at Dr. Ritt will provide general advising up to schedule availability. Advice will be provided as is, with no implication for contest judging or award outcomes.

2017 Library Innovation Prize

3D Printed Model of a Protein

The Brown University Library announces a $500 first prize and a $250 second prize for the creation of the most innovative and interesting 3D color-printed model. The theme for this year’s prize is the Brown University campus. Contestants must be currently enrolled Brown graduate or undergraduate students.

For more information and complete list of rules, please click here to visit the Innovation Prize website.

Students participating in the Innovation Prize will use the tools in the Rockefeller Library’s Digital Studio, in particular the ProJet 660Pro 3D printer — the only full-color, gypsum-based 3D printer on campus. Given the capabilities of the printer, we are particularly interested to see models that make use of both dimensionality and color.


Friday, March 10 @ 12 p.m.
Information Meeting 
Rockefeller Library Digital Studio Seminar Room (Rock 160).

Friday, March 24 @ 5 p.m.
Proposals Due
Submit short (~300 words or diagram), initial proposals. Individuals or teams may submit proposals as early as they like. Submit your proposal online.

Friday, March 31 @ 5 p.m.
Proposal Response
A team of Library staff will evaluate all proposals. Applicants will be provided with comments/suggestions on the feasibility, suitability, uniqueness, and/or legal issues of their projects. Note: We do understand that students will be on Spring Break at this time.

Thursday April 13 @ 12 p.m.
Presentation and Judging
Individuals and/or teams will present their 3D prints/models in the Library’s Digital Studio and the models will be judged. Light snacks will be provided.

Friday April 28 @ 12 p.m.
Prizes Awarded
Prize-winning individuals and/or teams will present their 3D prints/models once again in the Library’s Digital Studio and awards will be presented. Light snacks will be provided.

3D Printed Model of a Neuron