[open-science] Building an Open Science Q&A site

Matthew Todd matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au
Sun Feb 23 04:51:07 UTC 2014

Hi Lukasz,

I'm not against this idea, and have long thought StackExchange could be a
powerful way to work together (not least because of the remarkable metrics
it employs to track contributions) but I think a couple of things ought to
be established first:

1) How would this be superior from what is quite a useful Google+ community
on open science, where obviously inputs are quite discoverable. On the one
hand there are no metrics applied to participants, but on the other hand
it's quite active and would be suitable for many of the sorts of
discussions suggested on the trial page you have up.

2) "Open Science" has become a very broad term. To many it refers to issues
around open access, or open data. To me it means (mostly) a different kind
of collaborative process that arises from open access and open data.
Diversity of opinions is good, but you should probably be prepared for the
Q&A site to become dominated by one of those flavours of "open science"
unless you are specific about coverage right from the start.

To my mind one of the strengths of StackExchange (for e.g. code) is that
people are asking how to do things, and other people share solutions for
how to do those things. So some of the sample questions you have up there
are of this type (How do I get a DOI for a dataset) whereas others are the
kinds of questions that just need a bit of Googling around or where the
solutions may be better served by a wiki article (e.g. what's the
difference between Green and Gold OA). Perhaps it would be useful if there
were a tight relationship between a Q&A site, for the frontier how-to
questions, and the Wikipedia page on open science where established
information would be better placed, or where a discussion with a clear
answer could trigger someone to install the answer on the Wikipedia page.

So I'm not saying don't do this, but I for one would love for the focus to
be more "How do I do [technical thing in my open project]" rather than
"What do people think about [broad philosophical issue]". The former would
create something different and valuable.



On 22 February 2014 23:00, open-science-request at lists.okfn.org <
open-science-request at lists.okfn.org> wrote:

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>    1. Building an Open Science Q&A site (Lukasz Bolikowski)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2014 15:24:33 +0100
> From: Lukasz Bolikowski <l.bolikowski at icm.edu.pl>
> To: "open-science at lists.okfn.org" <open-science at lists.okfn.org>
> Subject: [open-science] Building an Open Science Q&A site
> Message-ID: <530761A1.9000901 at icm.edu.pl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
> Dear list,
> *Background*.  Some of you may know StackExchange.com, a popular network
> of community-driven Q&A sites (5 million users, 8 million questions, 15
> million answers).  The individual sites focus on different topics, such
> as: programming, mathematics, English language, computer games,
> photography, science fiction, religions, etc.  Each Q&A site has a
> well-designed, inviting interface through which users may ask questions,
> provide answers, upvote and downvote both Qs and As.  Lots of badges
> stimulate users for better contributions and more intensive activity.
> For example, StackOverflow.com (Q&A site for programmers) has become
> both a large compendium of knowledge about programming (structured in
> the form of Q&As), and a popular social site for answering questions.
> Many (most?) of my programming-related Google searches lead me to
> answers on StackOverflow.
> Last but not least, the network has worked out a mature set of policies
> and mechanisms for community-driven development of new sites.
> *Call for action*.  I have just created a proposal for a new Q&A site in
> the StackExchange network, devoted to Open Science:
>    http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/65426/open-science
> and I would like to encourage you to participate in its development.
> Please follow the link above, and sign up or log in using your
> Google/Facebook credentials.  Next, "follow" the proposal, vote on the
> questions (upvote the questions you consider on-topic, downvote the
> off-topic ones, discuss) and propose your own questions.
> *Technicalities*.  In the first phase (called "Definition") we need to
> gather 60 people interested in creating the site.  We also need to write
> and select a total of 40 on-topic and off-topic questions (examples of
> both types are needed).  This way we will define what the site will and
> will not be about, and we will move to the next phases (Commitment, then
> Private Beta, then Public Beta).  Ultimately, we will all be
> collaboratively building a knowledge base on Open Science and providing
> support for the general public.
> *Why*?  To create a one stop shop for all the people having questions
> about Open Science.  I have seen a great deal of energy and enthusiasm
> in the Open Science community, and a lot of interest in the Open Science
> issues among researchers and other stakeholders.  This is an attempt to
> channel the energy of the community and to leverage a popular platform
> in order to advance the cause.
> I'm confident that we will create a useful and vibrant site!
> Best regards,
> Lukasz
> PS. All user contributions on StackExchange are licensed under CC-BY-SA
> 3.0.
> --
> Dr. ?ukasz Bolikowski, Assistant Professor
> Centre for Open Science, ICM, University of Warsaw
> Contact details: http://www.icm.edu.pl/~bolo/
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School of Chemistry | Faculty of Science

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