Thursday, September 11, 2008

Open Science Required Reading: MSNBC on "Era of scientific secrecy nears its end"

There is a must read out there about Open Science. Robin Lloyd has a excellent article on Open Science (Era of scientific secrecy nears its end) posted at MSNBC. I am not sure whether this was originally written for MSNBC or not nor the whole history of the piece. But the article discusses some of the issues associated with Open Science.

It has some good sections like:
The openness at the technological and cultural heart of the Internet is fast becoming an irreplaceable tool for many scientists, especially biologists, chemists and physicists — allowing them to forgo the long wait to publish in a print journal and instead to blog about early findings and even post their data and lab notes online. The result: Science is moving way faster and more people are part of the dialogue
It also lists some of the aspects of Open Science including
  • Blogs where "scientists can correspond casually about their work long before it is published in a journal";
  • Social networks "that are scientist friendly such as Laboratree and Ologeez"
  • Sharable sites like "GoogleDocs and wikis which make it easy for people to collaborate via the Web on single documents"
  • Citation sharing sites like "Connotea that allows scientists to share bookmarks for research papers"
  • Preprint servers "such as Arxiv, where physicists post their "pre-print" research papers before they are published in a print journal"
  • OpenWetWare "which allows scientists to post and share new innovations in lab techniques"
  • Video sharing sites like "The Journal of Visualized Experiments, an open-access site where you can see videos of how research teams do their work"
  • Sequence databases like "GenBank, an online searchable database for DNA sequences"
  • "Science Commons, a non-profit project at MIT to make research more efficient via the Web, such as enabling easy online ordering of lab materials referenced in journal articles";
  • "Online open-access (and free) journals like Public Library of Science"
  • "Open-source software that can often be downloaded free off Web sites"
Sure the article gets a few things a little mixed up. For example, software can be free even if it is not open source. And not all open access journals are the same. But the article is overall very good and has some of my favorite Open Science advocates in it like Cameron Neylon and Jean-Claude Bradley.

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