Science in the Open: Why? How? And where to next?
A BioSys Bio Workshop
Science, by its nature, is about open communication. Yet the way we practice science has actually become more closed over the past decades with restricted access to the published literature, the suppression or hiding of data, and increasing competition all reducing the potential for a free flow of information. Few people would argue that more openness in the way we practice Science could help to make our research more effective, more efficient, and more available to the community that funds it. However there are significant cultural and technical barriers to being more open in practice.In this workshop we will discuss the state and future prospects of Open Science and the tools that will need to be developed to take the open agenda forward. As part of the workshop we will aim to outline the principles of an ‘Open Science Protocol’ that will be made available for community discussion to describe the principles and conditions under which we can agree to carry forward the development of Open Science.
There is a growing interest in some sectors of the academic research community in adopting more 'open' approaches to research practice. These range from publishing in the open access literature, through research discussions on message boards to discussing the details of their research on blogs. While the application of Open Science approaches remains limited in academic research they nonetheless raise serious questions about the future of both the traditional format of research publication and of peer review in its current form. Responses to the advocacy of 'Open Science' therefore, understandably, run the gamut from fanatical support, through amused tolerance, to derision and, in some cases, extreme hostility. But what does it mean to be open? Is it merely enough to share your results on-line, to blog about your thoughts and experiments? Or does the idea of openness need to be taken further?
The logical extreme of these approaches is to make the researcher's laboratory notebook freely available online or even to carry out the preparation of a research grant in public. This approach, described as ‘Open Notebook Science’ has only been adopted by a small number of groups so far but the impact of these efforts is growing. This workshop will discuss the technical advances that make Open Science possible, including the development of web based social authoring and networking tools such as Blogs, Wikis, Lifestreams, and social bookmarking sites. In an introductory talk Cameron Neylon will discuss the experience of adopting Open Science practices in his own research group, the state and usefulness of tools available to support these approaches, with a focus on the tools being developed within his group, in collaboration with the Frey group at the University of Southampton,to support Open Notebook Science.
Julius Lucks will then describe the state and progress of one of the main resources supporting open science practice, OpenWetWare (openwetware.org). OpenWetWare is a wiki-based community that is exploring new ways to conduct and promote open science. In this section, Julius will outline several of OpenWetWare's major thrusts including Open Protocols, Open Lab Notebooks, and a recently started collaborative book writing project.
To spark the discussion that will follow on from the talks, John Cumber, the new OpenWetWare Steering Committee coordinator will present a draft ‘Protocol for Open Science’ which will form the basis of a discussion for the remainder of the workshop. Our aim will be to within the session agree the issues that such a protocol should cover and to make some start towards identifying possible standards and responsibilities for those who with to carry forward the agenda of Open Science. We will discuss the boundaries beyond which openness should, perhaps, not pass as well as the role of Open Access journals, the timeframes on which data should be made available, and guidelines on re-using and re-purposing other people's data. The conversation will continue at email@example.com (http://openwetware.org/wiki/List:OpenScience)after the meeting.