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From around the world
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Who are you?

OpenWetWare is a group of researchers that are interested in increasing the amount of organization, dissemination, and communication in biological research (or just want an easy way to keep a lab webpage up-to-date). Everyone that has access to OpenWetWare can edit all pages in the site. Thus the evolution of all the pages are due to everyone involved. If you want to know who has done what, check out the history file associated with every page. If you have questions, please contact us.

How did this site get started?

The site was started by graduate students in the Endy and Knight labs at MIT on April 20, 2005 (called Endipedia). The site was officially opened to researchers worldwide, and renamed OpenWetWare, on June 22, 2005.

Why would I (or my lab) want to join?

Check out the Why join? page for a list of reasons why OpenWetWare may be of use to you and your lab.

Are you people just a bunch of scientific hippies? Why are you doing this?

See the "who are you?" question above. In general, we are not all hippies. We are doing this to construct a resource for ourselves. It is ultimately a selfish pursuit. Peruse some of the pages and you will notice that different labs/groups/individuals use OpenWetWare in different ways. Like many other things in life, OpenWetWare is what you make of it.

Do you ever plan on going commercial?

Probably not. OpenWetWare will always remain a free and open site dedicated to encouraging and celebrating open scientific information. It is possible that in the future that partnerships with organizations and/or commercial entities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the site will be considered. For now, and while we still have funding, the answer is no.

Is OWW backed-up? / How can I be assured this site will be here tomorrow?

Currently there are several labs to whom wiki functionality is vital, thus the wiki minimally will remain as long as these labs are in existence. Hardware and support is contracted to Rackspace, an industry leader of managed hosting. Rackspace provides server monitoring provides several redundancies for hardware, network access, and power. OpenWetWare is backed up daily, and we are continuing to improve the redundancy and backup capabilities. As far as trusting others with your information goes, we are probably a safe bet. Also, if you are really worried, we would love others to host mirrors of the entire site, or the daily dumps. Please contact us if you are interested.

Who runs this site?

The OpenWetWare steering committee is responsible for the overall direction of the site as well as ensuring that OpenWetWare continues to adhere to its mission. The steering committee is all-volunteer group of OpenWetWare users from many institutions. You are welcome to join. The OpenWetWare board is responsible for ensuring the long term sustainability and success of OpenWetWare. It consults with the steering committee on all decisions affecting the user community.

Sound like a cool idea, but I have nothing to contribute!

Sure you do. One of the motivations for OpenWetWare is to lower the barriers of entry into biological research. Many of the researchers on OpenWetWare are relative newcomers to biological research and are struggling to cope with the steep learning curve in biology. We're trying to accumulate enough information on OpenWetWare such that a person with little lab experience could, for example, go to the DNA Ligation page, read it and be able to carry out a successful DNA ligation reaction. Thus, some of the most useful contributions to the site are from people doing a technique for the first time. They are more likely to document the little things that can easily trip up someone new to a procedure. So newcomers to biological research are strongly encouraged to edit OpenWetWare with whatever information they learn along the way. Or if you have a question, ask it in the research help forum.

Can I/we join?

Yes!!! The more people that are contributing, the more useful the site becomes. Please check out the How to join page.

More FAQs

FAQ on contributing to OpenWetWare

Access to the site
FAQ on viewing and editing access to OpenWetWare

FAQ on having a lab wiki on OpenWetWare

FAQ on hosting a course on OpenWetWare

FAQ on copyright issues and OpenWetWare