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Datathons in Evidence-Based Medicine: Applying Open Science Principles to Support Cross-Disciplinary Education and Research

Organisers: Tom Pollard - MIT, George E. Dafoulas - Medical School, University of Athens, Lefteris Thireos - Athens Medical Society, Haralampos Karanikas- Hellenic Society of e-Health Services and Education. 
Duration: 1.5 hours

In this interactive workshop we explore how open science enables “datathons”, events that bring together teams of researchers to work together on unanswered clinical questions. We begin by outlining the datathon model and describe our experiences in holding these events internationally. We then offer an opportunity to participate in an interactice exercise, working together to analyse highly detailed information collected from patients admitted to critical care units at a large tertiary care hospital. Participants will learn about open science in clinical research and gain an overview of MIMIC-III, a freely-available critical care dataset collected from over >50,000 hospital stays.

Workshop abstract

The “Three O” strategic objectives of the European Commission include Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World. The vision for open science represents a new approach to the scientific process, based on cooperative work and new ways of sharing knowledge with digital technologies and new collaborative tools.

When applied to real world health data, the principles of open science have the potential to advance medical practice, validate scientific research outcomes, and offer powerful tools for improving patient services and public health planning. However, the ethical, legal and organisational challenges of health data analytics pose major obstacles, requiring a multidisciplinary approach and a special regulatory framework.

Based on the innovative legacy of hackathons, “datathons” have helped to promote collaborative research and foster dialogue around open science. This interactive workshop spans several themes of the Open Science Fair. We will demonstrate how open science can facilitate collaborative, reproducible research; highlight how open clinical data can be used to educate the next generation of researchers; and introduce tools and techniques for analysing freely-available clinical data.

Workshop overview

Workshop report

Target Audience

Academic researchers, industry scientists, healthcare workers, policy makers, biomedical publishers, and research funders.



  • Tom Pollard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT, USA
  • George E. Dafoulas, Medical School, University of Athens, Greece
  • Lefteris Thireos, Member of the National E-Health Board of Greece, Secretary General of the Athens Medical Society
  • Haralampos Karanikas, Secretary General of the Executive Board of Hellenic Society of e-Health Services and Education, Centre for Technological Research of Central Greece



See full programme here.


open content, Open Data Services, innovation, hackathon , datathon, health data