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An abstract for the International Meeting on E-social Sciences

30 January 2008 4 Comments

I have said before that I think we could benefit from the involvement of social scientists in understanding the possible cultural issues involved in the move towards more open practises. To this end we are submitting an abstract for the 4th International Meeting on e-social Science to present a ‘short paper’. I’ve put the abstract below: the deadline is next Monday (4th February). If you have any comments and/or would like to be included as an author on the paper. I am a bit pressed for time this week and google services seem slow this morning so I will probably stick to using comments from here rather than using Google Docs. Any/all comments welcome.

The Effect of Network Size and Connectivity on Open Notebook Approaches to Scientific Research: The view from the inside

Cameron Neylon with contributions from the Open Notebook Science Collective

A small but growing group of researchers in the physical and biological scientists are interested in developing and applying open approaches to their research practise. The logical extreme of this approach is ‘Open Notebook Science’ a term coined by Jean-Claude Bradley to refer to the practise of making the raw data from an experimental laboratory available as soon as practicable after it is generated. The promise of such open approaches is that loose coalitions of scientists can aggregate around specific problems according to interest, expertise, and resource availability and that such an approach can allow significantly more rapid solutions to problems to be developed. Specific recent examples of such approaches include the aggregation of a group of significant size to rapidly (five days) prepare a full scale grant application, attempts, successful and unsuccessful to identify collaborators to provide specific experimental capabilities to allow the completion of experimental results, and requests for experts to examine specific chemical datasets to identify potential errors. We will describe the experience of these different examples from the inside as well as the tools and resources used; their usefulness and limitation. The key observation is that successful application of these approaches requires a critical mass of interested scientists with sufficient times to provide a large enough pool of resources to solve the problem and that the network be sufficiently well connected for requests to be routed to the those best suited to help. In most cases the record of these efforts are fully publically available and may provide useful data for social science research in this area.


  • Looks like a good opportunity. Since it is in Manchester, I assume you’ll be presenting the paper as a talk in person? Yes, we could look at the social aspect of the UsefulChem project – how people met and collaborated using social software.

  • Looks like a good opportunity. Since it is in Manchester, I assume you’ll be presenting the paper as a talk in person? Yes, we could look at the social aspect of the UsefulChem project – how people met and collaborated using social software.

  • Yes, the object is to get the paper accepted to do an oral presentation. I have no real idea whether it really fits with what they want or not but I guess we will see.

  • Yes, the object is to get the paper accepted to do an oral presentation. I have no real idea whether it really fits with what they want or not but I guess we will see.