Open Notebook Science

Way back in the mists of time (…ok in 1989), Tim Berners-Lee, at the time working at CERN, proposed a way to share experimental results and ideas among colleagues. Tired of seeing information and knowledge lost to the aether when Scientists left the facility, he proposed ENQUIRE, a way to share information by allowing computers (and the humans controlling them) to talk to each other using a text-based mark-up language.

His experiment was a huge success and after a few iterations, ENQUIRE expanded beyond CERN, becoming the World Wide Web. This blog exists in the spirit of TimBL’s original ideas; that there can be great benefit to sharing data, information and knowledge. We’re also of the opinion that transparency and openness help to demystify the scientific method, enhance rigour and help the public (whos money funds much of the work we do) see how their taxes are being spent. We also hope that seeing science-in-progress might inspire the “non-professional scientist” to think more critically, logically and sceptically about the world around them.

For the time being, this blog will serve as the electronic lab-book for the 2014/2015 Lévy Lab Honour’s students. They’ll be posting experimental plans, results and interpretations (tagged accordingly) as their projects progress. We’ll also summarise the salient points of meetings that we have to discuss the projects.

Most importantly, we’ll try to address any questions and comments that are made on the posts and keep an active conversation going.

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6 thoughts on “Open Notebook Science

  1. This is a nice way of showing the development of a project.
    It would be nice to include raw data (or links to raw data) rather than only jpeg images of spectra and other results.

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  2. Thanks Yann. You are right of course. We will probably get there at some point, especially for data sets which are information rich and could be analysed by others.

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  3. That’s a great idea! (I would like to thank Arthur who told me about this initiative) I’m going to follow that, especially now that I’m interested in using the SmartFlare technique. I hope to see more open science notebooks in the near future… Good luck with your project!

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