OpenWetWare:Headquarters/Research Pathway Brainstorming061308

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Tools to facilitate establishment of collaborations

This topic seemed like an overarching theme, so I pulled all related ideas out of the overall list. Numbers in brackets indicate which step of the research cycle they came from. - BC 14:10, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

  • Ideas Marketplace (1)
  • An academic “innocentive” for research: Is there a way to orally ingest perfume?” “I’d like a biobrick vector that does X” Research marketplace; could be a mailing list; Craigslist for research (4)
  • Prizes, rewards, and competitions that will motivate people to work together (1 and others)
  • Microcredit for specialists who only want to work on part of the problem -> Attaching your credentials to a chunk of data (4)
  • System for outsourcing experimentation (4)


  • Tools/protocols for choosing what to work on and choosing when to stop
  • Building communities and networks at all steps on the cycle,
  • Mechanisms for specialization in communities

Ideas (1)

Background Research (3)

  • Opportunities for better Referencing
    • crowdsourcing for background research. What are the standard set of references/citations for X. DOIs for sets of references; abstraction for references
  • What’s the right way to present your data?
    • best practices for reporting data
    • open data conventions; examples for presenting data; (e.g. error bars and statistics)
  • Meta-level tools for finding publications
  • A way of conducting semantic research of articles and a way of extracting info from them

Background Research -> Experimentation (3.5)

  • Open funding and microfunding. Outsourcing in a lab. Lab needs resources, can plug into a microfunding model or network
  • A way to ask research questions and find the right people who can answer

Experimentation (4)

  • Standardized interfaces for controlling instrumentation via OWW
  • A reward system for amateur researchers
  • Consensus protocols: Standardized versions of protocols that are easy to find and free;
  • Different kinds of protocols and methods that provide information and how-tos for all phases and aspects of research;
  • Better ways of getting your activities out in the world; subscribe to your colleagues’ work;
  • Community building in the experimental cycle; example is a feed of “everyone else who’s using this protocol.”

Analysis (6)

  • An easy way to integrate your data into other people’s data sets

Publishing Cycle (8-11)

  • A way to apply peer review earlier than the publication phase; rolling, cycle-wide peer review; PR at the idea stage

(Dotted line to …)

  • Mechanism for capturing the value of negative results; collecting all the stuff that doesn’t make it into the paper like peer review; deleted scenes, the director’s cut; alternate endings
  • Implement CVS for publication: from submission to publication;
  • Design a publication process where the author has control; a centralized document with continuous version control. (As you hit a point in the review process should be less back and forth between you and the publisher, fewer publication delays.)
  • Build tools for writing: Drew envisions “A sea of unreviewed manuscripts” where the editor comes to you. A manuscript marketplace. Allows for …
    • feedback on rougher manuscripts
    • less stigma for having an error
    • Metric of error correction for each publication – finer-grained metrics

Publication -> Ideas (11->1)

Research is not conducted in vacuum; there’s a need to couple conclusions and publications with the next set of questions.

  • Need a mechanism for going from a publication back into to the idea pool
  • Need a mechanism for others (possibly nonresearchers) to pose questions, problems, ideas for research

Actionable tasks from the above

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