Friday, September 5, 2008

Open Science

Robin Lloyd, Senior Editor of LiveScience, recently wrote "secrecy and competition to achieve breakthroughs have been part of scientific culture for centuries, but the latest Internet advances are forcing a tortured openness throughout the halls of science and raising questions about how research will be done in the future."

Gerry McKiernan goes on to say that the phrase, open science, is "shorthand for technological tools, many of which are Web-based, that help scientists communicate about their findings. At its most radical, the ethos could be described as "no insider information." Information available to researchers, as far as possible, is made available to absolutely everyone."

For example, check out and Both offer scientists ways of managing their data, sharing it and collaborating with others., a pre-print repository, is another example of open distribution that has been around since the 90s.

It's hard to imagine a world without paper journals, but new Internet tools will only result in new end products. The purpose remains the same--to communicate research and scholarship--but the means for doing so will have different text + streaming video instead of collated pages.

Younger scientists are breaking the mold, according to a story in The Boston Globe. "We're a generation who expects all information is a Google search away," [one 28-year old scientist] said. "Not only is it a Google search away, but it's also released immediately. As soon as it happens, the video is up on YouTube and on all the blogs. The old model feels kind of crazy when you're used to this instant information."

Want to participate more in open science? Attend the Open Access Awareness Day events on campus:

Broadcast of Nobel Laureate Sir Richard Roberts, PhD
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Health Sciences Education Building, Room 4100 C
5 pm

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