Open Research: Rethinking Scientific Collaboration

Collection Number C18005
Collection Date -
Collection Type Conference/School

Scientific inquiry in the 21st century is beset with inefficiencies: a flood of papers not read theories not tested and experiments not repeated; a narrow research agenda driven by a handful of high-impact journals; a publishing industry that turns public funding into private profit; the exclusion of many scientists particularly in developing countries from cutting-edge research; and countless projects that are not completed for lack of skilled collaborators. These are all symptoms of a major communication bottleneck within the scientific community; the channels we rely on to share our ideas and findings especially peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings are inadequate to the scale and scope of modern science. The practice of open research doing science on a public platform that facilitates collaboration feedback and the spread of ideas addresses these concerns. Open-source science lowers barriers to entry catalyzing new discoveries. It fosters the real-time sharing of ideas across the globe favoring cooperative endeavor and complementarity of thought rather than wasteful competition. It reduces the influence of publishing monopolies enabling a new credit attribution model based on contributions made rather than references accrued. Overall it democratizes science while creating a new standard of prestige: quality of work instead of quantity of output. This workshop will bring together a diverse group of researchers from fields as diverse as physics biology computer science and sociology committed to open-source science. Together we will review the lessons learnt from various pioneering initiatives such as the Polymath project and Data for Democracy. We will discuss the opportunity to build a new tool similar to the software development platform GitHub to enable online collaborative science. We will consider the challenges associated with the adoption of such a tool by our peers and discuss ways to overcome them. Finally we will sketch a roadmap for the actual development of that tool.

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