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Building the foundation for open science

July 23rd, 2008 by dwentworth

The New York Times ran a much-discussed piece this week on open science and our colleague Karim Lakhani at the Harvard Business School: If You Have a Problem, Ask Everyone. John Wilbanks was with Lakhani at OSCON when the story broke, speaking at a forum on participatory cultures.

The piece gives a tantalizing glimpse of the potential for open science. With a foundation in a shared legal and technical framework, we could scale initiatives like the ones Lakhani has identified, with the Web itself functioning as an innovation engine for science.

That was the impetus behind the open science workshop we held last week in Barcelona in conjunction with ESOF 2008. We’ve now published our recommendations [PDF] for foundational principles to help foster the growth of open science across the globe — a way to connect and empower the people and organizations using open approaches to accelerating discovery. It provides definitions for four pillars of open science: open access to literature, access to research materials, open data and open cyberinfrastructure.

“We have to look hard at the foundations of science on the network and advocate ceaselessly for the necessary upgrades — to science as well as the network — that will allow us to get millions of new eyes on science, asking millions of new questions,” writes Wilbanks in a post on his blog at Nature Network. “Until that happens, we won’t really have a digital science culture. We’ll have simply made the old problems into digital problems.”

We’re grateful to all of the participants for joining us and helping to make the workshop a success. Special thanks go to Dr. Cameron Neylon, who not only participated but also blogged the event at Science in the open, sharing his insights with the community at large. Here are links to his notes, along with a few brief excerpts:

  • Policy and technology for e-science: a forum on open science policy: “James Boyle (Duke Law School, Chair of board of directors of Creative Commons, Founder of Science Commons) gave a wonderful talk (40 minutes, no slides, barely taking breath) where his central theme was the relationship between where we are today with open science and where international computer networks were in 1992. He likened making the case for open science today with that of people suggesting in 1992 that the networks would benefit from being made freely accessible, freely useable, and based on open standards.”
  • Policy for open science: the wrap-up session: “The benefits of the open web come from the explosion of people actually using a computer network. We must think of the users of an open-architected science [having] the same potential for explosion. “
  • Policy for open science — reflections on the workshop: “The workshop that I’ve reported on over the past few days was both positive and inspiring. There is a real sense that the ideas of Open Access and Open Data are becoming mainstream. As several speakers commented, within 12-18 months it will be very unusual for any leading institution not to have a policy on Open Access to its published literature. …Open Data remains further behind, both with respect to policy and awareness. … We need to look critically at different models [for building a commons], what they are good for, how they work.”

We’re hoping to continue the fruitful conversations started the Barcelona workshop. If you’re interested in joining us, send us an email to let us know.

5 Responses

  1. Michael Nielsen, on July 23rd, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Donna – The link to the Science Commons recommendations is broken.

  2. dwentworth, on July 24th, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Thank you so much — it was initially, but hopefully it’s working for you now?

  3. Michael Nielsen, on July 24th, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Yes, it’s there now.

  4. dwentworth, on July 24th, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Phew 🙂

  5. Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog » Blog Archive » Moving forward with Open Science in Europe, on July 24th, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    […] a brief note on the Science Commons blog and Cameron Neylon of Open Wetware has posted some comments and reflections (1, 2, and 3). Below […]