[Air-L] LiveScience: Era of Scientific Secrecy Near End

McKiernan, Gerard [LIB] gerrymck at iastate.edu
Fri Sep 5 12:00:27 PDT 2008

A Must Read For A Friday Afternoon ...

Era of Scientific Secrecy Near End

By Robin Lloyd, LiveScience Senior Editor

posted: 02 September 2008 11:30 am ET

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. 

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. 


Open science

The open science approach forces researchers to grapple with the question of whether they can still get sufficient credit for their ideas, said physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, co-organizer of a conference on the topic set to begin Sept. 8 at the Perimeter Institute in Ontario, Canada. 

[BTW: I Will Be Attending This Unique Conference Science in the 21st Century: Science, Society, and Information Technology <http://scholarship20.blogspot.com/2008/07/science-in-21st-century-science-society.html>  [ http://tinyurl.com/6ll8fb <http://tinyurl.com/6ll8fb>  ]  / Look For Conference-Related Postings on My Scholarship 2.0 blog [ http://scholarship20.blogspot.com/ <http://scholarship20.blogspot.com/>  ] within the next two weeks]


Open science is a 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. 

Beyond email, teleconferencing and search engines, there are many examples: 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; GoogleDocs and wikis which make it easy for people to collaborate via the Web on single documents; a site called Connotea that allows scientists to share bookmarks for research papers; sites like 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; the Journal of Visualized Experiments, an open-access site where you can see videos of how research teams do their work; 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; virtual conferences; online open-access (and free) journals like Public Library of Science (PLoS); and open-source software that can often be downloaded free off Web sites. 

The upshot: Science is no longer under lock and key, trickling out as it used to at the discretion of laconic professors and tense PR offices. For some scientists, secrets no longer serve them. But not everyone agrees. 



Networked Cyborgs 

Is It A Good Thing?


Open science also has the potential to prevent discrimination in access to information. Arxiv, the site for posting pre-print physics papers, was started in 1991 by Cornell physicist Paul Ginsparg, then at Los Alamos National Laboratory, to help provide equal access to prepublication information to graduate students, postdocs and researchers in developing countries.

[BTW: Paul Ginsparg will be of of several Major Players presenting at The Conference]

Drawbacks of Open Science

Fear Of Losing Peer Review

For The Good Of Truth, Humanity, Economies?

Access To An Expanded Excerpted Version of The Article And A Link To The Full Article Itself Is Available At

[ http://tinyurl.com/6f366g ]

Thanks to Sabine Hossenfelder For The HeadsUp !


Gerry McKiernan
Associate Professor
Science and Technology Librarian
Iowa State University Library
Ames IA 50011

gerrymck at iastate.edu

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Victor Hugo

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