Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ship it or share it

John Wilbanks, "Ship it or share it", john wilbanks' blog, July 24, 2008.

... While we were talking over dinner [Bryan Kirschner] came back repeatedly to the idea that if youíre not going to ship code, you should share the code.

This is an idea that could really benefit the science community. So much work gets left behind on the laboratory equivalent of the cutting room floor that the adoption of this piece of open source philosophy would be welcome.

But, as I get tired of saying, science is a lot more complicated. It takes some work to make the stuff on the cutting room floor useful for other people, whether itís data, or lab protocols, or DNA vectors. Some of that work becomes part of the labís institutional memory and finds its way into other projects at other times. Ship it or share it is going to have a hard road to hoe before it becomes a widely accepted policy.

I would however love to see this become a piece of open notebook science. ...

The issue of how to cite and what citations mean in such an environment is an interesting one, however Ė you donít get credit for musing about science, you get credit for proving stuff. We need to have more ways to measure the geneaology of ideas than simple systems based on antique systems of citation, too.