Open Science Gains Public Attention
6 February 2010 1 Comment
I have long been a supporter of open science projects like Galaxy Zoo (from my old alma mater) where the public can make valuable (some would say invaluable) contributions to data gathering and processing for science experiments. To be fully open it is necessary to make the gathered data openly accessible by anyone and to invite input into ideas for extended and new experimental projects.
We know there is entrenched opposition from existing scientists and institutions used to closed science models, and the large corporations who claim to ‘pay’ for experimental output even though it is based on publically-funded science. It seems to me that for open science to move forward we need to educate young scientists who will yield future influence and most importantly the public themselves. I see grass roots pressure as the main force to bring about open science to not only have access to the output of all publically funded science but also the experimental procedures as they are in process.
Therefore I was buoyed by the ABC Radio National podcast on open science in the FutureTense series which talked to some of the leading open science protagonists such as Dan Gezelter, Julian Cribb and ex-pat Aussie Michael Nielsen. I was particularly taken with Andy Farke and his Open Dinosaur Project which is taking the ideas behind Galaxy Zoo to higher levels. Of course social media tools are playing an increasingly significant role in enabling open science, particularly blogs, wikis, and social networks with which the public are already familiar. The snowball is rolling at last.