Chris Hartgerink

Liberating scientists through worker cooperatives


Chris Hartgerink

Project: Liberate Science

The goal of this project is to reimagine the scientific workplace while building a system to improve scientific practice

“Okay today seems like a good day to share that @ShuttleworthFdn has awarded me a fellowship to build a radical alternative scholarly communication with @libscie and make it a worker cooperative so it wont be coopted by VC or other moralless profit maximizing comps 🤓”

The Big Idea


Chris Hartgerink is establishing Liberate Science, a radical, collective endeavour with the mission of developing an open scholarly communication system to improve and reform the scientific process as an Open Worker Cooperative (OWC).

It is a testing ground for Chris’s vision of combining open principles with a cooperative organisational structure, making the value it produces work for all its producers. His concept is to create an environment where researchers are free to direct the organisational mission, have a say in its management, and take an equal share of its profits to invest in other socially worthwhile projects.

Why We Funded


As the world’s challenges become emergencies, we desperately need those with the skill, knowledge and desire to help us avert catastrophe. We can’t rely on big business, whose traditional organisational models mean profit always - and inevitably - becomes the sole mission. Individuals in the scientific community do their best, but they work precariously in organisational structures where few have the agency, time or resources to work on anything else outside of their employer’s demands.

Chris’s ambitious vision has the potential to address the needs of both scientists and society for more granular, timeous and digestible communication of research processes and findings. Even more importantly it will be an experiment in itself, on how individuals can function as a collective that is self-directed, collaborative and productive, while creating the space and opportunity for a more fulfilling work environment. This is an idea Chris embodies in his approach to research. We support him because he is putting open practices in the novel setting of cooperatives, exploring a new paradigm for the production of scientific research, progressing the idea of community in the workplace, and building an open model that workers can take, use and replicate again elsewhere.

Chris’s work focuses on:

  • Establishing the first Open Worker Cooperative for scientists
  • Giving scientists agency, time and resources to determine the best solutions for their problems
  • Creating an open scholarly communication system to change how research is planned, carried out, communicated and evaluated