Sourceforge for science
I got to meet Jeremiah Faith this morning and we had an excellent wide ranging discussion which I will try to capture in more detail later. However I wanted to get down some thoughts we had at the end of the discussion. We were talking about how to publicise and generate more interest and activity for Open Notebook Science. Jeremiah suggested the idea of a Sourceforge for science; a central clearing house somewhere on the web where projects could be described and people could opt in to contribute. There have been some ideas in this direction such as Totally retrosynthetic but I don’t think there has been a lot of uptake there.
This was all tied into the idea of making lab books findable and indexed in places where people might look for them. I have been taken with the way PostGenomic and ChemicalBlogSpace aggregate blogs, particularly blog posts on the peer reviewed literature and in the case of ChemicalBlogSpace aggregate comments on molecules, based on trawling for InChi Keys (I think). So can we propose that one of (both of?) these sites start aggregating online notebook posts? If we could make these point at peer reviewed papers online it would also be possible to use a modified version of the Blue Obelisk Grease Monkey that would popup whenever you were looking at a paper for which there was raw data online.
It wouldn’t be necessary, or perhaps even advisable, to limit these to people strictly practising Open Notebook Science. People could put up data once a paper was published or after a delay. Perhaps we could not even require that all the raw data be put up. If the barriers are lowered more people may do it. A range of appropriate tags (‘Partial Raw Data is available for this paper’, ‘Full raw data is available for this paper’, ‘Full raw data and associated data is available as an open notebook’,) would distinguish between what people are making available. Data could be dropped anywhere online and by aggregation it gains more visibility encouraging people to move from making specific data available towards making all their data available.