Science 2.0

What could an online tool do to support your research?

The British Library are currently running what they call a "Biomedical Research Information Support Survey", whose last question is number 31:

I do not think that discussing this supplementary question here would spoil the survey, so I invite possible answers, irrespective of whether you filled in the survey or not. I shall post a screenshot of my answer here tomorrow.

Open Humanities — imagining the future of libraries

This blog is focused on science, simply because that is what I do most of my time. The same applies to the "What would [X] look like if it were invented today?" series of blog posts, and while it has not escaped my notice that X=Humanities would be a possible configuration, I did not feel particularly competent to write that part, nor did my infrequent calls for people from the humanities or social sciences to participate in the open science debates here or at Friendfeed result in much feedback from that end. However, I came across a piece recently (and read it today) that has a great potential to fill this gap (a case for UU, as discussed yesterday). It was written in a very personal and engaging style by Lisbet Rausing for a printed magazine (The New Republic), so its major drawback is that it has no hyperlinks and that the only non-text element is this image of a traditional library of paper documents. But the text was explicitly placed in the Public Domain, such that it can be adapted for the web, for which I have set up a document anyone can edit — please feel free to do so, and to tell your colleagues and friends in the humanities and social sciences about it.

For stimulation, I paste in below Lisbet Rausing's original of March 12, 2010 at 12:00 am, entitled "Toward a New Alexandria". The text (which should not be changed, though corrections may be added) is well worth a second read even in this non-enhanced form, and I will leave it to you to judge whether a more webby version can add value to that.

Summary of the Open Science session at Eurodoc 2010

''This is the content of the session's Etherpad as of this version, pasted as the session ends.''

This pad serves as a notepad for the Science 2.0 session at the Eurodoc 2010 conference: .
Some of the planning takes place at .

The text in this document is synchronized as you type, so that everyone viewing this page sees the same text. You do not have to log in to type here, though providing your name in the top right box would be nice.

Please do not edit above the line of "=" but feel free to take notes below it. To pose questions, please use the chat on the right or a Twitter message tagged with #eurodoc2010 . Comments on the individual items in the pad should be placed directly below them, preceded by "Comment:".

Forschung heute - gemeinsam geht es besser

such is the title (roughly: "Research today - collaboratively, it works better") of a talk I am going to give in Munich tomorrow at a workshop on networking amongst young researchers in Germany. My presentation is embedded below. It can be annotated here.

Conference abstract accepted: What if science were sustainable?

Back in November, there was the abstract submission deadline for the 2010 Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), and I had submitted a contribution entitled "What if science were sustainable?", promising to keep track of all further developments under the "ISEE-2010-sustainable-science" tag.

So here we go, the notification of acceptance just came in, containing these details on the review procedure:

The international response to the call for papers was overwhelming. We received about 1300 abstracts from 1100 registered submitters in 89 countries, with a generally very high quality. All abstracts have been evaluated and graded independently and anonymously by at least two members of our international review committee consisting of 96 reviewers. Abstracts have been allotted to reviewers on a random basis within the respective thematic foci. We will list all names of our review panel on our website. Based on the grades that we received for each abstract from our reviewers, we calculated an average grade for every abstract, and then ranked all abstracts accordingly. In cases where the span between two review results was significant a third review was collected. Double submissions were rejected. Most reviewers added comments to their reviews that can be accessed through the ConfTool system at

Via that ConfTool, I could indeed find the reviewer's reports, which I copy-pasted below (with thanks to the reviewers), in the spirit of promoting public peer review practices (a screenshot with the nicer original layout is attached):

More dialogue on strategic funding of Open Science

The following are the slightly redacted notes taken during a phone conversation this morning between Janet Haven and me on ways in which the Open Society Institute's Information Initiative could support Open Science.

Background to this conversation: and - thanks for all the comments received so far!

JH (per email):
We'd like to ask you to think about two to three emerging opportunities for--or threats to--open society institutions and values that you are aware of which are not receiving sufficient attention and where a funder like OSI could usefully intervene. We encourage you to suggest issues that are still very much on the horizon; there need not be an obvious solution to the points you raise.

DM (in blog post mentioned above):
- support open collaborative environments for research funding, research, and knowledge structuring (see post and discussion at )
- support science prizes/ competitions for research done in the open (see ), or specific scientists/ labs working in the open (possibly part-time on "open", part-time on "science")
- promote diversification of the measures used to assess the impact of a researcher - and
- support a test of the efficiency of non-public peer review - and

Join via live stream today: The Science Commons Symposium – Pacific Northwest

Join via live stream today: The Science Commons Symposium – Pacific Northwest

It starts at 9:30 PST and features talks by the following speakers (schedule here):

Stephen Friend - Founder and President of Sage, a non-profit research organization that’s revolutionizing how researchers approach the treatment of disease

Peter Binfield – Publisher of PLoS ONE, an innovative online scientific journal and influencial leader of the open access movement

The illustrated anatomy of a paper - and how it may look like on a wiki

Following up on last night's demo of a paper-turned-into-wiki-article, I am adding below a pictorial summary of some of the key issues. The comments are meant to apply to a typical paper, not necessarily just this one or other papers in this journal.

First, let's take a look at the anatomy of the paper in its native state (typically pdf, often HTML, rarely XML or other machine-readable formats).

Reducing publications to their essence

While 140-character summaries of scientific papers seem to be the topic of today in some parts of my feedsphere (#sci140), I wish to get back to another way of making publications shorter and more efficient, as has been discussed before in various circumstances, e.g. under the label of micropublication.

Let me start by requoting John Wilbanks:

Science is already a wiki if you look at it a certain way. It’s just a highly inefficient one -- the incremental edits are made in papers instead of wikispace, and significant effort is expended to recapitulate existing knowledge in a paper in order to support the one to three new assertions made in any one paper.

In this spirit, I have taken one of my articles whose licenses permit reuse and modifications and turned its abstract and introduction into a demo on how publishing in a wiki-style environment may look like.

Re: On Citizendium

The following is a reply to "On Citizendium", whose comment forms didn't accept me pasting in this comment from my text editor.

Thanks for the constructive feedback. Several points I wish to add:

  • Real names are necessary at some point, since they provide a simple and time-honoured way to deal with the situation that "What hasn't kept pace with the technical innovation is the recognition that people need to engage in civil dialogue."
  • The only articles about whose quality Citizendium makes any claim are Approved Articles. Currently, there are 121 of these. Yes, this is a very small number, largely due to (1) the small number of active contributors and (2) the complicated approval system, streamlining of which has long been on the agenda, but didn't proceed much because of (1), though we actually have discussed the combination of FlaggedRevisions with expertise as a possible solution. For all non-approved articles, no statement on the quality is made, but the real name requirement keeps vandalism fairly well at bay.
  • Real names and Approved Articles are just some of the differentiators. Others include the use of subpages to structure information pertaining to an article's topic (e.g. Related Articles, which essentially replace categories for navigation).
  • Larry has announced repeatedly that he will step down as Editor-in-Chief, and a Citizendium Charter is currently being drafted, according to which the project shall develop after this transition. In its current version, it covers aspects like dispute resolution, partnering with external organizations, and integration with teaching and research (activities by sizable communities for which the reliability aspect is essential). Comments very welcome.

Social filtering of scientific information - a view beyond Twitter

This comment has received input from a number of FriendFeed users, as detailed in this thread, and was jointly blogged today by Björn Brembs (FriendFeed; blog post), Allyson Lister (FriendFeed; blog post) and Daniel Mietchen (FriendFeed; this blog post).

                                              "It's not information overload, it's filter failure." (Clay Shirky)

Bonetta (2009) gave an excellent introduction to the micro-blogging service Twitter and its uses and limitations for scientific communication. We believe that other social networking tools merit a similar introduction, especially those that provide more effective filtering of scientifically relevant information than Twitter. We find that FriendFeed (already mentioned in the first online comment on the article, by Jo Badge) shares all of the features of Twitter but few of its limitations and provides many additional features valuable for scientists. Bonetta quotes Jonathan Weissman, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of California, San Francisco: “I could see something similar to Twitter might be useful as a way for a group of scientists to share information. To ask questions like ‘Does anyone have a good antibody?’ ‘How much does everyone pay for oligos?’ ‘Does anyone have experience with this technique?’” It is precisely for such and many more purposes that scientists use FriendFeed, which allows the collection of many kinds of contributions, not just short text messages.

Breakthroughs of the year 2009 in Open Science: the Polymath Project and Article-Level Metrics

Two weeks ago, I invited suggestions as to what may have been the breakthrough of the year in open science. On the basis of the candidates that came up (plus a few that I had on my own list), a poll was then set up for everyone to vote their preferences by ranking the following candidates (listed in random order, as in the poll, but this time with links):

Three days left to vote on Open Science Breakthrough 2009

Two weeks ago, I invited suggestions as to what may have been the breakthrough of the year in open science. On the basis of the candidates that came up (plus a few that I had on my own list), a poll was then set up for everyone to vote their preferences amongst the following candidates (presented in random order):

What is your breakthrough of the year in open science?

As the end of the year is nearing, many collections suffixed "of the year" are about to emerge. I am not particularly enthusiastic about these but since I haven't yet seen any in which open science activities featured prominently, I thought targeting them may well be worth a try. So what are your candidates for the breakthrough of the year in open science?

I endow every commenter here and in the accompanying Friendfeed thread (embedded below) with seven points to distribute (in positive integer units, plus optionally once "-1") across up to seven different achievements or events. Please also provide at least a twenty-word statement and a link for each item you honoured with points. Voting will start now and end at 7pm UTC on Dec 16.

I have my own favourites but in the interest of not spoiling the party, I will announce them in the comment to the results.