Spreading the spirit of openness

Posted August 23rd, 2007 by konrad

I really enjoy the discussions and ideas about Open Science and Open Knowledge etc. in the web. Hopefully it will change the way how we communicate and do science. On the other hand I see the problem that these discussions are mainly done by the 31337 web-addicted scientists while the majority of scientists is not involved. I am still meeting so many scientists that have not heard about Open Access (not to mention Creative Commons or Open Source [the origin of the concept]). I do not expect everybody to be a nerdy IT guy but at least the spirit of openness should be in the minds of scientists. The current system does not encourage this attitude. It is not officially taught at university and the scientific credit system makes people scared of being scooped or not being accepted (including myself).

Due to the success of many Web 2.0 services the technical concepts like blogs, wikis and social networks are known by more and more people (even scientists ;)). The usage of Open Source software is also growing but is often only motivated by its price not the freedom (free as in ‘free beer’ not ‘free speech’). The concept of openness, transparency and freedom is lacking. So before we can change the (scientific) system we need to reach a critical mass and in order to do this we have to spread this concept to others. I think we must make clear that access to data is crucial to speed up science and to improve living standards globally. And this has to be much more prominent in “real life”. So I would like to encourage people spread the word by giving talks and speaking with colleges and friends who are not yet aware of these concepts.

I am planing to give such a talk next month in Barcelona (EMBL PhD retreat) and make it later online available. It is intended to be a introduction to the topics mentioned above. Let’s see how I manage. Currently I am brainstorming and working on draft.

2 Responses to “Spreading the spirit of openness”

  1. Pedro Beltrão

    I will be around EMBL after the 27th if you want someone to bounce ideas :).

  2. Konrad Förstner

    Excellent, will meet you next week, thanks.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>