Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Social aspects of open science

richard, Open science 0.9 beta, spreadingscience, April 18, 2008.

Open Science is really in the very early stages. It may very well evolve into an important adjunct for research. Collaborations are the prime driver of much of todayís science. ...

Currently, collaborations are usually set up using well known social networking skills honed through years of experience. Who you know is important. What Open Science holds the potential for, when it comes to collaborations, deals with who you donít know.

OS can leverage an online community so that connections can be made that would have been difficult or impossible if face time was required. However, it will take a little work, like porcupines mating, to make this really effective. ...

[T]rust and reputation will have to be a part of OS, particularly since the participants may not meet face to face. But reputation and trust are a common problem with many Web 2.0 approaches.

One way Web 2.0 surmounts this is the very openness and transparency that gives it power. Ebay, for example, would not work if people did not trust the seller to have the item and the buyer to have the cash. Being able to see how each rates the other help establish trust. ...

Now OS will not be like Ebay, which is a site of commerce. But the power of many eyeballs watching the interactions will help apply social norms to the most egregious behavior. A reputation lost in the open like this will be very difficult to untarnish. ...