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Friday, July 18, 2014

Open Notebook Science: also for cheminformatics

Last Monday the Jean-Claude Bradley Memorial Symposium was held in Cambridge (slide decks). Jean-Claude was a remarkable man and I spoke at the meeting on several things and also how he made me jealous with his Open Notebook Science work. I had the pleasure to work with him on a RDF representation of solubility data.

It took me a long time to group my thoughts and write the abstract I submitted to the meeting:
    I always believed that with Open Data, Open Source, and Open Standards I was doing the right thing; that it was enough for a better science. However, I have come to the realization that these features are not enough. Surely, they aid Open collaborations, though not even sufficient there, but they fail horribly in the "scientific method." Because while ODOSOS makes work reproducible, it lacks the context needed by scholars to understand what it solved. That is, it details out in much detail how some scientific question is answered, but not what question that was. As such, it fails to follow the established practices in scholarly research. In this presentation I will show how I should have done some of my research, and ponder on reasons why I had not done so.
And it also took me a long time and a lot of stress to get together some slides, but I managed in the end:



During the talk I promised to start doing Open Notebook Science (ONS) for my research, and I am currently exploring ONS platforms.

The meeting itself was great. There was a group of about 40 people in Cambridge and another 15 online, and most of them into Open Science or at least wanting to learn what it is about. I met old friends and new people, including a just-graduated Maastricht Science Programme student (one that I did not have in my class last year). Coverage on Twitter was pretty good (using the #jcbms hashtag, an archive) with some 90 people using the hashtag.
Several initiatives seem to be evolving, including an ONS initiative and a memorial special issue. All these will need to help from the community. The time is right.