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The need for open data is getting more mainstream

2 October 2007 4 Comments

Via Jean-Claude Bradley on UsefulChem, an article in Wired on making more of the ‘Dark Data’ out there available. As Jean-Claude notes this is focussed mainly on the notion of ‘failed experiments’ and ‘positive bias’ but there is much more background data out there. Experiments that don’t quite make the grade for inclusion in the paper or are just one of many that may be useful from a statistical perspective. How many synthetic chemistry papers give the range of yields achieved for a reaction? Or for a PCR reaction.

But its good to see more of this happening in the mainstream media and especially that Jean-Claude is getting the kudos for pushing the Open Notebook Science agenda. As this gets more mainstream it will filter through to the funders and other bodies.

Postscript: The article was originally commented on by Attilla at Pimm where there are more thoughtful comments on this.


  • Thanks for spreading the word!
    Yes the “yield of a reaction” is a very elusive concept and easy to misrepresent without access to the lab notebook, where all attempts are recorded.

  • Thanks for spreading the word!
    Yes the “yield of a reaction” is a very elusive concept and easy to misrepresent without access to the lab notebook, where all attempts are recorded.

  • Yes, there is an expression I’ve heard used in the UK community: ‘American Yields’ – as in if you’ve got a big enough group to make the students keep doing it until someone gets a >95% yield.

  • Yes, there is an expression I’ve heard used in the UK community: ‘American Yields’ – as in if you’ve got a big enough group to make the students keep doing it until someone gets a >95% yield.