Plenary Speakers

International conference
- Psychological research and practice -

Open science as a framework for psychological research

Snežana Smederevac

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad

Open science has become the most important goal in contemporary scientific community, whose achievements would contribute to the visibility of scientific results,  significant social and economic benefits, as well as to supporting the development of new research. Psychology provides a significant boost to the development of open science, with a large number of researchers participating in replicability studies, pre-registering their research plans, sharing datsets and creating new scientific research frameworks, such as "citizen science".

Serbian Open Science Platform, adopted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, requires that Open Access is mandatory for all publications resulting from publicly funded research. The Platform recommends that primary research data should be deposited in open data repositories. Adequate preparation of research data for reuse assumes that the data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. These requirements are known as FAIR data principles. Existing repositories, such as Mendeley, Open Science Framework (OSF), as well as search engines, such as Google Dataset Search or Elsevier DataSearch, are enabling open data management.

A behavioral genetics cross-cultural study can illustrate the usefulness of open data in psychological research. The main objective of this study was to examine the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to the Five-Factors Model personality traits across three cultures – Croatian, German and Serbian. German dataset is deposit at GESIS Data Catalogue repository. After signing of the contract about rules for using these data, a license was obtained, and their database was included in the cross-cultural study. Croatian dataset was obtained by personal contact. Participants were 1006 monozygotic (MZ) and 710 dizygotic (DZ) volunteer general-population twin pairs from Croatia, Germany and Serbia. Multivariate twin modelling was used to explore the nature of the phenotypic associations between personality traits in three cultures. Results showed that the relative contributions of additive genetic and nonshared environmental factors to the variance of all FFM dimensions have almost identical pattern in the German, Croatian and Serbian samples, confirming the heritable basis of the personality traits, which are consistent with previous results of behavioral genetic studies. The most important result of this study points to different patterns of common and specific genetic and environmental effects on personality traits as well as different patterns of genetic correlations across the three cultures.

This study demonstrates several key principles of open science, such as "citizen science”, reproducibility and data sharing.


Dr. Snežana Smederevac is Full Professor at Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad. She teaches personality psychology since 2001.She is the Principal Investigator on the following ongoing projects: Boosting engagement of Serbian Universities in Open Science – Erasmus+ KA2 and Psychological Foundations of Mental Health: Hereditary and Environmental Factors – Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development.She was awarded the Ljuba Stojić Award as a member of the editorial board of the journal Psihologija by the Serbian Psychological Association (2010) and Borislav Stevanović Award for scientific contribution to the development of psychology in Serbia by the Serbian Psychological Association(2011). She was Vice-rector for the Science and International relations at the University of Novi Sad, the Head of Department of Psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Novi Sad and the founder and Head of the Center for Behavioral Genetics. She is a member of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences and the European Association of Personality Psychology.

Big data approaches in Psychology and Medical sciences

Nemanja Vaci

Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

The vast amount of information continuously collected on various behaviours, together with advanced analytic techniques, offers unprecedented opportunity to conduct data-driven research in psychology. From board and online games utilized in understanding basic cognitive mechanisms to unstructured medical records that allow for a better prediction of medication prescription in clinical research, the Big Data approaches are shaping psychological theories and practices. In this talk, I will illustrate how gamified environments and clinical notes can be used to obtain novel insights in normative and nonnormative ageing research.

In the case of gamified environments, we utilize chess and sports data to understand the shape of the ageing function in real-life skills, as well as, factors that protect against age-related declines in later stages of career. Building more flexible nonlinear models, we show how intelligence and practice, factors typically associated with nature and nurture, enable the acquisition and retention of complex skills across the lifespan.

In the case of clinical data, we use the natural language processing models to extract the medically relevant information from electronic health records. We use Oxfordshire Trust CRIS (Clinical Record Interactive Search) raw text records that form a medical picture of over than 150,000 patients of secondary care services in Oxfordshire county. In the talk, I will present results from the models that extract information behind dementia diagnosis: prescribed medication (acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and memantine) and cognitive performance scores (MMSE and MOCA). The extracted data is subsequently modelled to investigate the effect of medication prescription on the changes in cognitive performance in the case of dementia diagnosis.


Dr Nemanja Vaci is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Bioinformatics at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. His work focuses on advanced analytics and complex modelling of unstructured and structured big data in the psychology and medical sciences. He is interested in the utilization of information stored in electronic health records and UK cohort data to investigate models of disease progression in dementia. Most of his work supports the preserving effects of expertise, knowledge and activity on the age-related declines in complex cognitive processes. Nemanja was awarded his PhD degree at Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt in Austria on the topic of Modelling Large Data in Psychology.