30 Sep

Thoughts on Having a Meta Open Science Community

Over the last week, I started to think about how to improve the collaboration between the Open Science groups and researchers and also between the groups themselves. One of the ideas that I thought about using simple tools that are around in other Open * places (mainly Open Source/Linux distros). These tools are your forums (Discourse and other ones), Planet feeds, and wikis. Using these creates a meta community where members of the community can start there and get themselves involved in one or more groups. Open Science seems to lack this meta community.

Even though I think that meta community is not present, I do think that there is one group that can maintain this meta community and that group is the Open Knowledge Foundation Network (OKFN). They have a working group for Open Science. Therefore, I think, if they take the time and the resources, then it could happen or else some other group can be created for this.

What this meta community tool-wise needs:

Planet Feeds

Since I’m an official Ubuntu Member, I’m allowed to add my blog’s feed to Planet Ubuntu.  Planet Ubuntu allows anyone to read blog posts from many Ubuntu Members because it’s one giant feed reader.  This is well needed for Open Science, as Reddit doesn’t work for academia.  I asked on the Open Science OKFN mailing list and five people e-mailed me saying that they are interested in seeing one.  My next goal is to ask the folks of Open Science OKFN for help on building a Planet for Open Science.


I can only think of one forum, which is the Mozilla Science Lab one, that I wrote about last a few hours ago.  Having some general forum allows users to talk about various projects to job posting for their groups.  I don’t know if Discourse would be the right platform for the forums.  To me, it’s dynamicness is a bit too much at times.


I have no idea if a wiki would work for this meta Open Science community but at least having a guide that introduces newcomers to the groups is worthwhile to have.  There is a plan for a guide.

I hope these ideas can be used by some group within the Open Science community and allow it the grow.

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on Having a Meta Open Science Community

  1. For a Planet, this should be trivial. I’ve been using a tool called moonmoon (probably still running a very outdated version) for Bioclipse (http://planet.bioclipse.net/) and the CDK (http://pele.farmbio.uu.se/planetcdk/). If we have a list of blogs by people in the Open Science WG (and local groups), setting this up is trivial.

    More powerful, is a aggregation tool like originally developed by Euan Adie (now at Altmetric.com) which I extended for chemical compounds: http://cb.openmolecules.net/ But that code base is very outdated.

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