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5 May 2008 / erikduval

Science2.0: it’s coming…

Snowflake science is beginning to enter mainstream! A workshop on 18 June calls it research2.0. As they say:

Grid-based, heavy-weight computing infrastructures, driven as they largely have been by the needs of researchers requiring High Performance Computing or High Throughput Computing, do not necessarily address the different needs of scientists across the full range of research areas and disciplines. Consequently, what we now observe is a ‘grass roots’ led appropriation by these latter groups of more flexible, lightweight, easily configurable and rapidly deployable technologies originating from the Web sphere.

Scientific American calls it science2.0. They write:

A small but growing number of researchers (and not just the younger ones) have begun to carry out their work via the wide-open tools of Web 2.0. And although their efforts are still too scattered to be called a movement—yet—their experiences to date suggest that this kind of Web-based “Science 2.0” is not only more collegial than traditional science but considerably more productive.

We had a nice illustration of this evolution when some colleagues asked us for access to the data that underpin our recent paper on Quantitative analysis of user-generated content on the Web. (The links in our paper were broken 😉

In Scientific American, the spokesperson for Nature seems to get it: “Our real mission isn’t to publish journals but to facilitate scientific communication,” he says…

IEEE is also trying to make progress in this area, with its “computing now” initiative:

I saw a tremendous opportunity to finally catch up with the rest of the community that is living and breathing Web 2.0, social networking, long tail, and global knowledge. Could we finally convert the one-way, broadcast model of IEEE CS publications into two-way communication between the authors and the community?

This is going to be so much fun, and we’re certainly planning to try some things – more later. For now, I think that Boris Zivkovic sums up my ideas quite well:

“About 99 percent of these ideas are going to die. But some will emerge and spread. I wouldn’t like to predict where all this is going, but I’d be happy to bet that we’re going to like it when we get there.”

Would love to hear YOUR ideas…


Leave a Comment
  1. Jo Vermeulen / Jul 11 2008 11:36 am

    Hi Erik,

    Just wanted to share a few links with you that I think are related. I recently read an interview with Jean-Claude Bradley, a chemistry professor and a pioneering practitioner of open notebook science. His group has a wiki page where they describe all their experiments while they perform them (not just when they are finished).

    An excerpt from the interview (about a research blog vs a wiki):

    “It seemed to me to make sense because you have one post. You can describe one experiment, and then have people comment on it. And then, create a new experiment. That actually didn’t work very well, and the reason is there is so much editing that goes on in terms of recording the science. And the wiki is because you are able to access any individual version. You are able to see when conclusions were made, when errors were found and corrected. You are able to see who did each particular contribution.”

    Another researcher who is working on better tools for scientific collaboration and publication is Michael Nielsen.

    Both can be found on FriendFeed 🙂


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