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Coturnix' "obligatory reading of the day" brought me to this interesting essay on open science. I think it catches most of the most important idiosyncracies of the modern science business and offers some very promising avenues for change.
However, I think it treats one crucial, important point only in passing: there currently are too many incentives not to share ideas and critical comments with the rest of the scientific community. There is the very real risk of being scooped, of critical comments coming back to haunt you at your next peer-reviewed submission or of an important person in a search committee branding you as 'trouble maker' because you criticized his paper on your blog. On top of that, there's absolutely zero credit to be had for any such activities. On the contrary, writing a blog such as this one can be seen as time wasted better spent writing papers or doing experiments.
Apart from the question of whether the perfect scientist is the one who only spends his time writing papers and doing experiments, what incentives can one think of to provide for blogging, commenting, sharing? I think because all of science relies on creativity, information and debate, the overall value of blogging, commenting and sharing can hardly be overestimated, so what incentives can there be for the individual scientist?
To be honest, I don't have many ideas. I don't even have two. I have one: these sorts of activities need to be aggregated somewhere where it can be used to show to others as a sign of quality, creativity, ingenuity, whatever. A place that can be used to build a reputation, where people can compete for having the most creative thoughts and sharpest minds. How to technically implement this, I have some ideas, but I consider none of them to be in a state worth considering, yet.
That's pretty pathetic! What else is there?
Posted on Friday 18 July 2008 - 17:55:49 comment: 0
open science   science blogging   science politics   

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