Open Source Science

Mark this one down in the list of cool ideas I’ll never follow through with.

“Github meets Academic Publishing.”

Here’s the full idea: We create an open system for people to share their scientific studies by providing them with all the tools, visualizations, and data warehousing necessary to truly host the science. Then, the community can rate the project, duplicate the results, grow from it, or reference it in another work. The interconnectedness that’s already inherent in academic publishing becomes a network in itself.

There will obviously be studies that don’t measure up to the rigorous evaluation of peers and those that are above the heads of many folks. To solve this, we first invite a group of verified scientists. Who are these folks? They’re people that have been published in academic peer reviewed journals in the past. This status gives their opinions on their peers extra weight. What they say has vastly more influence than the average Joe. It’s not hopeless for the rest of the world, though. When a verified scientist rates another project highly, the authors of that work gain reputation. They in turn can raise the reputation of others they approve of. As you move farther from the verified folks, the effect is lessened.

As the system grows, so too can the list of verified scientists and their sphere’s of influence. Everyone can benefit from what we all recognize as good science, and all the results are free and open to the public.

Iteration ideas: teams, university/college connections, certificate or degrees to add to reputation, invite system for colleagues, bounties on challenging tasks/experiments, bounties on verification through independent duplication of results. Science-on-demand.

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