Part of the change in notebook philosophy will come in the form of engaging the scientific community. I’m very receptive to feedback, and I want to provide visitors a chance to engage earlier in the scientific process. So from now on (following a former ONS behavior of mine) I will publish my experimental planning before execution.
Usually I just have the ideas jumbled in my head and I write thoughts down on a piece of paper as they come (so I don’t forget). When I used to notebook on OWW, I would preplan experimental protocols and receive some feedback from Koch before execution and it greatly helped my efficiency in lab.
With these experiments I’ve just been kinda going with the flow, but now I need to concentrate my efforts, especially for Alex’s sake. Also it is just plain, good habit. And finally visitors can contribute thoughts to an experiment before the experiment gets underway. This is especially beneficial for ONS, and something that would be excellent to show people who are skeptical of ONS.
Not only should notebook viewers have access to data, methods, results, and ideas, but they should also have access to the plan as well. Instead of wondering why someone took a certain approach, you can actually see the thinking behind a method. To me that is just as useful as any of the other open notebook principles.
On top of that, I know that at some point in the future I’m going to want to know why I did something and having access to my own thoughts, not just in execution, has been useful in the past and will be useful once again. Plus like they say, you can never be too careful, and publishing my plans prior to setup is another way to ensure that my setup is executed without a hitch.
From here on out, all preplanning activities will go under the “setup” tag, which usually just houses the official setups of an experiment after the setup is performed. Now there will also be pre-setup posts and maybe one day there will be phil-setup posts (phil- is a prefix Larry Herskowitz and I invented to describe things that are happening in the present, as opposed to pre- (before) and post- (after)).