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The youth of today…

14 October 2007 6 Comments

I like to think of myself as still a young person – in many ways I am stretching the definition but I still just about qualify for various schemes for ‘young scientists’ that cut out at the age of 35 or nine years post PhD. However I have to admit that I have been feeling a bit old recently. I have been struck by how many of the people driving the open science agenda forward are either current or relatively recent graduate students

It is conventional for ‘older’ people to complain about falling standards in exams, literacy, presentation, respect etc etc but I think in this field there would be a strong case for the new generation of scientists to point to falling standards amongst older scientists as people have become gradually more secretive and protective of ‘their’ work. It bodes well for the future that there are so many articulate and energetic champions of open science coming through the ranks. I only hope that it isn’t simply that people lose their drive to be open as the realities of professional research hit post-graduation.


  • I only hope that it isn’t simply that people lose their drive to be open as the realities of professional research hit post-graduation.

    That’s where you and Jean-Claude, and more senior people like Jonathan Eisen, Rosie Redfield etc, come in! Even me, though I am but an egg (mere postdoc).

    You are absolutely right about the younger scientific “generation” — look at open theses (Gunn, Piwowar, Csordas), open notebooks (Faith). Talk to any grad students you can find, and compare the response to Open Science advocacy with the kind of response that one tends to get from established researchers (e.g., “”Open notebook” science is a ridiculous joke”).

    So, it is imperative that anyone in a position to do so, should give up-and-coming scientists the opportunity to put as much of their work in the open as they want to. That’s why I think the ONS-friendly labs list is such a terrific idea. I’m snowed under with work and immigration issues right now, but I shall champion that list just as hard as I can once I return to regular blogging.

  • I only hope that it isn’t simply that people lose their drive to be open as the realities of professional research hit post-graduation.

    That’s where you and Jean-Claude, and more senior people like Jonathan Eisen, Rosie Redfield etc, come in! Even me, though I am but an egg (mere postdoc).

    You are absolutely right about the younger scientific “generation” — look at open theses (Gunn, Piwowar, Csordas), open notebooks (Faith). Talk to any grad students you can find, and compare the response to Open Science advocacy with the kind of response that one tends to get from established researchers (e.g., “”Open notebook” science is a ridiculous joke”).

    So, it is imperative that anyone in a position to do so, should give up-and-coming scientists the opportunity to put as much of their work in the open as they want to. That’s why I think the ONS-friendly labs list is such a terrific idea. I’m snowed under with work and immigration issues right now, but I shall champion that list just as hard as I can once I return to regular blogging.

  • I am feeling old now :). That said you are quite right. It’s up to the people entering their professional careers to carry on the torch. At Scifoo, I saw the fear in some of the younger crowd about what openness means to their career. Hopefully, the trend will reach a point where all that becomes a moot point.

  • I am feeling old now :). That said you are quite right. It’s up to the people entering their professional careers to carry on the torch. At Scifoo, I saw the fear in some of the younger crowd about what openness means to their career. Hopefully, the trend will reach a point where all that becomes a moot point.

  • As Bill says, as long as there are some people prepared to encourage the ‘younger’ generation to keep up the good work we should be able to keep the trend going. That’s my aim anyway :)

  • As Bill says, as long as there are some people prepared to encourage the ‘younger’ generation to keep up the good work we should be able to keep the trend going. That’s my aim anyway :)