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

Piotr Migdal pmigdal at gmail.com
Mon Feb 24 17:19:21 UTC 2014

Dear Łukasz,

I don't object that open science is a hot topic.
(Though, OpenData is far from having a sustainable activity of users, at least as of now.)

And for SE site the practice shows, that creating new site works only in two cases:
- there is totally no SE site where you can ask the questions,
- there is already very strong community on an existing SE site, willing to split.

Just the practice shows, that if there is a single site where you can ask question - just do so!
(Also beware: setting a new site takes months - a year, given everything goes well.)

Furthermore, more overlap is coming soon:
- http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/58715/open-source-licensing

So just try asking two or three questions on
and see how it goes!
I would be happy to see you in the Academia.SE community!


On 24 Feb 2014, at 17:38, Lukasz Bolikowski <l.bolikowski at icm.edu.pl> wrote:

> Dear Piotr, Matthew,
> thanks for your comments.  Let me briefly address here the points you have raised, a bit longer version can be found there:
>  http://discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/a/13484/16092
> First of all, thank you, Piotr, for a pointer to the "Why did Theoretical Physics fail?" discussion.  It is very insightful!  Let me point one difference between Theoretical Physics and the proposed Open Science that gives the latter some hope: OS is a "hot topic", with increasing demand for information from the general public, especially in the light of changing policies of funding agencies, governments, libraries and publishers.  TP, on the other hand, registers rather stable interest.
> Mat, regarding #1, I greatly appreciate all the fantastic initiatives like the Google+ community and the hard work that is associated with it.  I do believe, however, that there is still room for a Q&A site (be it OpenScience.SE or Academia.SE), as this particular format of presenting information is 1) very friendly to search engines and 2) encourages participation/involvement of casual visitors.
> Regarding Mat's #2, let me start with a disclaimer: it is up to the community, not to me, to define the scope of the new site.  My personal opinion follows.  I believe that, ultimately, OpenScience.SE will get a lot (majority) of traffic from search engines like Google, and that a Q&A site is even more suited to store the general knowledge (e.g. "What's the difference between Green OA and Gold OA?") than a *regular* wiki (after all, SE has the "community wiki" feature, which should be used for a collaborative answer to the above question).
> I, too, would like to avoid open-ended questions like "What do people think about [broad philosophical issue]".  I, too, prefer the "How do I do [technical thing in my open project]" type.  I hope this kind of scope will prevail.
> Best regards,
> Lukasz
> On 02/23/2014 12:35 PM, Piotr Migdal wrote:
>> Hi Łukasz,
>> Hi Mat,
>> It  is very tricky to start a StackExchange site, when there already SE
>> sites with some overlap (speaking as some-one who tried it an failed -
>> http://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/130361/why-did-theoretical-physics-fail).
>> But the good thing is that they are already SE sites related to open
>> science:
>> http://academia.stackexchange.com/ (actually, there are already many
>> open science questions there)
>> and
>> http://opendata.stackexchange.com/
>> I would suggest asking questions open science questions on the above sites.
>> As I see from the OpenScience.SE proposal, all suggested questions
>> either fit in at least one of the above, or in general are not good
>> SE-questions (too subjective or open-ended).
>> Also note, that OpenData.SE is somewhere on the verge of (not) having
>> critical mass of users, so splitting the topic even further is unlikely
>> to be successful.
>> Regards,
>> Piotr
>> http://migdal.wikidot.com/
>> On 23 Feb 2014, at 05:51, Matthew Todd <matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au
>> <mailto:matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au>> wrote:
>>> 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.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Mat
>>> On 22 February 2014 23:00, open-science-request at lists.okfn.org
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>>>    Today's Topics:
>>>       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
>>>    <mailto:l.bolikowski at icm.edu.pl>>
>>>    To: "open-science at lists.okfn.org
>>>    <mailto:open-science at lists.okfn.org>" <open-science at lists.okfn.org
>>>    <mailto:open-science at lists.okfn.org>>
>>>    Subject: [open-science] Building an Open Science Q&A site
>>>    Message-ID: <530761A1.9000901 at icm.edu.pl
>>>    <mailto: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
>>>    <http://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 <http://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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>>>    ********************************************
>>> --
>>> MATTHEW TODD | Associate Professor
>>> School of Chemistry | Faculty of Science
>>> Rm 519, F11 | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006
>>> T +61 2 9351 2180  | F +61 2 9351 3329  | M +61 415 274104
>>> E matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au <mailto:matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au>  | W
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> -- 
> Dr. Łukasz Bolikowski, Assistant Professor
> Centre for Open Science, ICM, University of Warsaw
> Contact details: http://www.icm.edu.pl/~bolo/

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