Heather Piwowar, PhD

Personal Statement

I started at DBMI because it was a 10 minute bike ride from my house and I needed to learn more about clinical informatics for my job.  I stayed -- for a class, then a certificate, then a PhD -- because the profs were smart and thought-provoking, the students were friendly and interesting, and the environment was rich in opportunity.  Want to blog?  Run a learning lunch series? Take classes in diverse departments? Pursue a research agenda that is a bit off the beaten track? Present at conferences no one has heard of? DBMI's got your back if you have the initiative.  I'd also like to commend DBMI for being so family-friendly.  I had my daughter shortly after enrolling. She slept through many an afternoon colloquium.

I'm very glad Pitt was such a short bike ride away: I have a new career I love, where I can make a difference, and I doubt I would have found it without DBMI.


Heather is currently a postdoctoral research associate with DataONE and the Dryad data repository at NESCent.   She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from MIT in electrical engineering; 10 years of experience as a software engineer, and earned her Masters and PhD in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh.  She lives in Vancouver, Canada.

Heather  was recently honored to have "Aim 3" of her thesis included in the PLoS Medicine collection “World Health Report 2012: No Health Without Research” http://www.ploscollections.org/whr2012


 (2011) total-Impact named in top 10+1 apps in the Mendeley #binaryBattle and one of 3 PLoS Picks

Selected Publications

Piwowar HA.(2011)  Who shares?  Who doesn’t?  Bibliometric factors associated with open data archiving.  PLoS ONE 6(7): e18657. PMID: 2176588; PMCID: PMC3135593

Piwowar HA, Day RS, Fridsma DB.(2007) Sharing detailed research data is associated with increased citation rate. PLoS ONE 2(3): e308. PMID:17375194 PMCID: PMC1817752 

Piwowar HA, Chapman WW.  (2008)  A review of journal policies for sharing research data   In: ELPUB 2008 Conference on Electronic Publishing, Toronto,Ontario, Canada, June 2008.. PMCID: PMC2655927


The Chronicle or Higher Education, January 29, 2012: Scholars Seek Better Ways to Track Impact Online  http://chronicle.com/article/As-Scholarship-Goes-Digital/130482/

Nature News, Sept 14 2011:  Researchers failing to make raw data public. http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110914/full/news.2011.536.html

ODE project:   Ten Tales of Drivers & Barriers in  DataSharing 


On research outreach from PLoS EveryONE blog: How deep social network "roots"  help scientists communicate their research: http://blogs.plos.org/everyone/2011/10/21/how-deep-social-network-roots-help-scientists-communicate-their-research/

Sharing Data in Biomedical and Clinical Research


Activities of Note

AAAS meeting session on Feb 19th 2012 organized by Heather Piwowar: Accelerating Scientific Progress Through Public Availability of Research Data, including talk by Heather on Costs and Benefits of Pubic Data Archiving http://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2012/webprogram/Session4117.html

And a fun way to see the impact of all my work is through my "total-impact report."  


Total-impact is a website that a collaborator (Jason Priem, UNC) and I are working on to demonstrate broad impact of a broad spectrum of scholarly output.

Current Activities: 
Heather is currently a postdoctoral research associate with DataONE and the Dryad data repository at NESCent. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from MIT in electrical engineering