Monthly Archives: January 2012

The pyramid of Open Science – Which way is up?

Having just read Dan Gezelter’s (now relatively old) post on the definition of Open Science, it has struck me that the two main streams of the movement have been around for quite a long time, namely: the openness of data, documents, code; and the openness of communication and collaboration that leads to the creation of the above. However, if one looks further into the blog posts on the Web, and the talks given at different Open Science conferences, then it become instantly apparent that the former far outweighs the latter, yet is that really justified?

Is it possible that we’re trying to tear down the ‘pyramid’ of science by approaching it from the wrong end completely, i.e. by trying to damage its foundation which is highly resistant, instead of moving the more loose bricks at the top first? In other words, could it be the case that the use of different public review tools like PaperCritic, altmetric measures listed on altmetrics.org and open scientific collaboration tools (which I sadly don’t know a really good example for) will actually drive science to be more open by setting a standard for open communication. In a way, this could (and should) satisfy the motivations Dan outlines more and more as these tools become more widely accepted, leading to more openness in the actual sharing of data, thus ultimately putting the pyramid on its head!

What I’m trying to say is certainly not that we should stop trying to make scientific papers, the corresponding code and data as open as possible. On the contrary, those remain very important aspects of the whole movement. However, in order to truly revolutionize the way science is conducted, we just might want to put a bit more effort into raising the value of scientific communication and collaboration as an accepted metric in the community.

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