Openness in Science

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Chelsea Wald has written an article in Science about how scientists embrace openness by sharing their raw data and practising open notebook science:

At first glance, going "open" would seem like a serious career risk -- years of work could be for nothing if a competitor uses your work to beat you to publication -- but many practitioners of openness say the benefits outweigh those risks. The benefits include increased opportunities for collaboration, more feedback from colleagues, and a greater likelihood that the research will get to the people who can use it. Counterintuitively, practitioners say that being open supports their claims of priority and relieves their anxiety about getting ripped off.


"I definitely believe that science in general is more effective the more open people are," says evolutionary biologist Jonathan Eisen of the University of California (UC), Davis, who keeps much of his research open. "There are unquestionably risks for people that come with [openness], but the benefits to society are enormous. Given that taxpayers are paying for our work, I think that the default should be to be open unless you can prove that it's a bad idea."

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