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e-science for open science – an EPSRC research network proposal

22 November 2007 28 Comments

The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council currently has a call out for proposals to fund ‘Network Activities’ in e-science. This seems like an opportunity to both publicise and support the ‘Open Science’ agenda so I am proposing to write a proposal to ask for ~£150-200k to fund workshops, meetings, and visits between different people and groups. The money could fund people to come to meetings (including from outside the UK and Europe) but could not be used to directly support research activities. The rationale for the proposal would be as follows.

  • ‘Open Science’ has the potential to radically increase the efficiency and effectiveness of research world wide.
  • The community is disparate and dispersed with many groups working on different approaches that do not currently interoperate – agreeing some interchange or tagging standards may enable significant progress
  • Many of those driving the agenda are early career scientists including graduate students and postdocs who do not have independent travel funds and whose PI may not have resources to support attending meetings where this agenda is being developed
  • There is significant interest from academics, some publishers, software and tool developers, and research funders in making more data freely available but limited concensus on how to take this forward and thus far an insufficient committment of resources to make this possible in practice

The proposal would be to support 2-3 meetings over three years, including travel costs, and provide funds for exchange visits. What I would like from the community is an expression of interest, specifically the committment to write a letter of support saying you would like to be involved. It would be great to get these from tenured academics, early career academics, graduate students and PDRAs, publishers (NPG? PLoS?), library and repository people (UKOLN, Simile, others?) and anyone else who is relevant.

The timeline is tight (due Tuesday next week) but if there is enough interest I will push through to get this done. I propose to write the grant in the open and online so will post a Google Doc or OpenWetWare page as soon as I have something to put up. Any help people can offer on the writing would be appreciated. In the meantime please drop comments below. I will be pointing to this page in the grant proposal.


  • Great idea! – link to the Google Doc as soon as you can. I’ll pass the word along – and certainly my group is interested.

  • Great idea! – link to the Google Doc as soon as you can. I’ll pass the word along – and certainly my group is interested.

  • Oliver Hofmann

    Sounds terrific, if on short notice. More than happy to provide a letter of support.

  • Oliver Hofmann

    Sounds terrific, if on short notice. More than happy to provide a letter of support.

  • Hi, We spoke at the AHM about our respective experience of electronic lab books. I would be certainly interested in joining up on this proposal. Best wishes, Nic

  • Hi, We spoke at the AHM about our respective experience of electronic lab books. I would be certainly interested in joining up on this proposal. Best wishes, Nic

  • Would love to be involved, and will write letter to that effect.

  • Would love to be involved, and will write letter to that effect.

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  • I’d welcome the opportunity to participate. I am already working with JC Bradley to facilitate Open notebook Science. I can write a letter of support…please let me know whether what we are doing is relevant for your efforts. Thanks

  • I’d welcome the opportunity to participate. I am already working with JC Bradley to facilitate Open notebook Science. I can write a letter of support…please let me know whether what we are doing is relevant for your efforts. Thanks

  • Some of the ideas in your doc are ideas that I have been chewing upon for a while. Will get back to you separately as soon as I have had a chance to digest things

  • Some of the ideas in your doc are ideas that I have been chewing upon for a while. Will get back to you separately as soon as I have had a chance to digest things

  • I’d be delighted to be involved – I can’t take the lead myself. Email me of give me a ring. We shall be starting a fresh mini-project on Open Notebook Science shortly.

  • I’d be delighted to be involved – I can’t take the lead myself. Email me of give me a ring. We shall be starting a fresh mini-project on Open Notebook Science shortly.

  • I would be happy to help if I can. I will contact you directly by email.

  • I would be happy to help if I can. I will contact you directly by email.

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  • Jason Kelly

    Sorry slow to comment, was away for holidays. This looks like a great idea — OpenWetWare would be happy to provide a letter of support of course. Will follow up by email.

  • Jason Kelly

    Sorry slow to comment, was away for holidays. This looks like a great idea — OpenWetWare would be happy to provide a letter of support of course. Will follow up by email.

  • Great news. I would love to offer my spare time for this lovely opportunity.

  • Great news. I would love to offer my spare time for this lovely opportunity.

  • Cameron, I’d like to be involved. We’re trying an open source approach to neglected tropical diseases at the Synaptic Leap. My interest is in getting synthetic chemistry done (see the link) in an open environment. Specifically I’m interested in how we best share synthetic data and arrange it such that scientists, not computer scientists, can collaborate most effectively in a growing, iterative experimental project. This brings up wider questions of who coordinates open source projects, whether contributions ever need to be deleted/screened and how we convince grant funding agencies that an open source element is an advantage (something I’m currently attempting myself). I’ll send through a letter if this is of interest. Cheers, Mat

  • Cameron, I’d like to be involved. We’re trying an open source approach to neglected tropical diseases at the Synaptic Leap. My interest is in getting synthetic chemistry done (see the link) in an open environment. Specifically I’m interested in how we best share synthetic data and arrange it such that scientists, not computer scientists, can collaborate most effectively in a growing, iterative experimental project. This brings up wider questions of who coordinates open source projects, whether contributions ever need to be deleted/screened and how we convince grant funding agencies that an open source element is an advantage (something I’m currently attempting myself). I’ll send through a letter if this is of interest. Cheers, Mat

  • We do open science (see rrresearch.blogspot.com), so of course we’re interested.

  • We do open science (see rrresearch.blogspot.com), so of course we’re interested.