[open-science] Open science and OKFN

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Mon Sep 8 23:14:27 UTC 2008

Thanks for your post Oldak!

I'll try and keep my response brief...

  * As mentioned on our blog, this list came out of discussions I had 
with Kaitlin Thaney (Science Commons) and Cameron Neylon (Open Wetware). 
None of us could think of a mailing list for those with a general 
interest in open science. The purpose of setting up this list was to 
keep these people in touch with each other. I hope it will become a 
relatively low volume list for relevant announcements, queries and other 
items of interest. (Our thinking was roughly 'we're all quite busy, but 
it would be nice to keep in closer contact'!)

  * The Open Knowledge Foundation aims to promote open knowledge in all 
its forms - including scientific publications, research data, and so on. 
At the moment our most relevant work is on standards (cf. 
http://opendefinition.org and Science Commons' Protocol for OA Data, 
http://ur1.ca/55e) and resource discovery (cf. http://ckan.net).
For more on the OKF and open science, see SC's interview with Rufus 
Pollock: http://ur1.ca/55f. We are currently planning an event on open 
science resource discovery for this autumn. We would very much like to 
provide whatever support we can to the open science community. Much of 
our work is 'community driven' - so feedback, suggestions, project 
proposals and so on are most welcome (probably off-list or on 
okfn-discuss would be best)!

  * Regarding your comments on areas of open science, you may be 
interested to see Science Commons' 'Principles for open science', 
presented in Barcelona in July: http://ur1.ca/55h.

I hope this is helpful!

Warm regards,


Oldak Quill wrote:
> Just an e-mail about OKFN and open science, the state of open science,
> and a suggestion as to what is needed.
> Looking at the OKFN website, OKFN currently has no open science
> projects. Some of the tools supported by OKFN are incidentally related
> to open science (data distribution, e.g.). Have there been any ideas
> or suggestions about how OKFN may develop open science other than
> non-specific licenses and tools supported currently? What was the push
> to set up this list?
> Beyond OKFN, open science has been building momentum in the last two
> years. Some notable open science projects (that I know of):
> *http://www.biomedcentral.com/ BioMed Central - "an independent
> publishing house committed to providing immediate open access to
> peer-reviewed biomedical research". BioMed Central currently supports
> a couple of hundred journals and licenses these under the CC-by-2.0
> license, an OKFN Open Knoweldge Definition conformant license.
> *http://sciencecommons.org/ Science Commons - "designs strategies and
> tools for faster, more efficient web-enabled scientific research. We
> identify unnecessary barriers to research, craft policy guidelines and
> legal agreements to lower those barriers, and develop technology to
> make research data and materials easier to find and use." A project of
> Creative Commons.
> *A number of projects maintained by the US federal government (the NIH
> and the NCBI) are necessarily public domain.
> Open science is multifaceted. The means to do research should be as
> free and as open as possible (i.e. software tools), data must be open,
> and papers and other interpretations of data must be open (free to
> access and reuse). I here define "interpretations of data" very
> broadly to include scientific papers, diagrams, other texts, and
> annotation projects (annotated proteins/chemicals, e.g.). I would
> suggest that these are the three areas that must be pursued in open
> science: research tools, data and interpreted data.
> The current state of science more-often-than-not results in
> information and tools being locked-down. This is not compatible with
> the spirit of science. To be explicit: the spirit of science is the
> discovery and free exchange of scientific knowledge. If software tools
> in research must be paid for, if data cannot be shared, and if a
> subscription is required to access journal contents, the spirit of
> science is betrayed. In these scenarios, profit-making has become more
> important than science itself.

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