The impact of electronic and open notebooks on science: session at #SciO13.

It looks like I’ll be co-moderating a sequel to my Scio12 presentation on Open Notebook Science. This year I’ll be joined by Kristin Briney who is a Chemist by training and has become fascinated with electronic notebooks and the technical aspects of such and is now an Informational Librarian (I met so many of those in the past year, they’ve become my favorite people!). She also makes beautiful things!

We’ll be leading a discussion on electronic and open notebooks. We’ll start with the basics of electronic/open notebook platforms and delve into the more philosophical questions I’ve been asking for the past few months. Hopefully we’ll have time to hear about the Physics Lab I taught, which was an experiment in an open notebook community, and about the IGERT grant I co-wrote to train future open notebook scientists (and progress of the grant up to that point). And I’m sure Kristin has been/will be up to some amazing things by then too.

Here is a description of the session:

Publication hasn’t changed much in the last few centuries. In fact the biggest change is publishers switching to an open access model in the last 10 years! As science becomes more electronic, access to that information should be more attainable, but with the current state of publishing that information is locked down. Electronic, online, and open laboratory notebooks could be the key that pushes science to adopt a more open model of publication. By sharing experimental details in real-time the scientific process can be enhanced greatly by allowing access to raw data, detailed methods, and even experiment planning. We discuss the technical and philosophical merits of maintaining electronic/open notebooks. On the technical side we will discuss available tools and current best practices and confront issues of data management and long term archiving. Philosophically we debate the role that open notebooks may play in converting traditional scientists to adopting open access models, and the potential broader impacts they may have on the public perception of science. We hope to leave with better ideas of how to face challenges that electronic/open notebook scientists may face technologically, culturally, and professionally.

Leading up to the conference we’ll be asking a bunch of questions to get the conversation started online. Here are some things we have in mind:

  • How can we convince scientists to make the transition to open/electronic lab notebooks?
  • What are the best platforms for electronic and online lab notebooks?
  • What are the long term implications of keeping an open/electronic notebook?
  • What are the responsibilities of keeping an open notebook?
  • How do scientists deal with terms of service/ownership of research notes when sharing online or storing them in the cloud?
  • How do researchers manage their first electronic notebooks to ensure information retention as lab notebooks evolve?
  • Why are scientists so slow to embrace the open model?
  • Should scientists consider notebooks as a source of outreach?
  • Can open notebooks become an alternative source of publication?
  • Should electronic notebooks be treated the same way as the shared data which they contain?
  • Would a network of open/electronic notebooks provide better access to information, ease issues with storage/archiving, and create a greater sense of (open) community?

Feel free to get the conversation started here in the comments or any other post I write under the Scio13 category (accessible via the sidebar to the right). I hope to see a lot of you at Scio13 and in our session. We have a lot to talk about!