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Mozilla The Internet Science

Mozilla Launches Initiative To Adapt Scientific Practice To the Open Web 28

An anonymous reader writes "Today Mozilla announced the Mozilla Science Lab, a project to help modernize scientific practices to make better use of the open web. "Scientists created the web — but the open web still hasn't transformed scientific practice to the same extent we've seen in other areas like media, education and business. For all of the incredible discoveries of the last century, science is still largely rooted in the "analog" age. Credit systems in science are still largely based around "papers," for example, and as a result researchers are often discouraged from sharing, learning, reusing, and adopting the type of open and collaborative learning that the web makes possible.' Hopefully this can be another step in moving away from traditional publishing practices, and encourage a new generation of scientists to make their data available in more useful ways."
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Mozilla Launches Initiative To Adapt Scientific Practice To the Open Web

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  • A little three person project?!

    I'll wait until someone with real money decides to properly fund something.

    • The Mozilla Science Lab is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which definitely has real money. And three dedicated people who know what they're doing can accomplish a lot.

  • Mozilla's been doing quite a bit of following in the past few years. Nice to see them take on something new and potentially significant. I don't know if they're the right folks for the job (they certainly have the cache') or if they'll succeed, but it's a good way for the Foundation to think that doesn't merely involve mimicking what Google does.

  • by countach44 ( 790998 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:50AM (#44007697)
    One thing that would be great would be to fund studies that's sole purpose is to verify/reproduce someone else's work. Obviously, with the current state of funding, this really doesn't happen. Once something is published, we as the next researchers are forced to take results as fact - which may not be true due to error, low yield, or (hopefully not) fabrication [nytimes.com] of [nature.com] results [americanscientist.org] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_misconduct [wikipedia.org]).

    I really do believe that incentivizing verification of results and repeat studies (with reasonable limits, of course) would improve scientific research tremendously. However, it's even less likely to take hold than moving away from "publish or perish."
    • by mx+b ( 2078162 )

      I completely agree with you. Having gone through graduate school, there was way too much emphasis on publishing something new, and not any interest in verifying. I often would be interested in learning about a topic and verifying the results, but it would be considered wasteful to do, or at the least not contributing to your papers (which must be novel).

      Whether Mozilla could help with this or not, I do not know, but I wish there was a good code repository of scientific code example snippets. I absolutely HA

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:08PM (#44008649)

    It is obnoxious that someone can publish their results without providing the code & data available for independent verification.

    When are we going to return to the _proper_ scientific process & analysis?

    How does Mozilla even have a plan to change this broken symptom of "everything behind a paywall" ?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A decentralized peer-to-peer content distribution and review system (torrent). Seeding is endorsement of the content.

    List publications endorsed (seeded) by researchers you trust.

    Download a publication, read it.

    If it passes your scrutiny, you seed it too.

    • by mZHg ( 2035814 )

      As long as you are qualified to judge what you download and read, then you can choose to seed it.
      If "approval" is not restricted to qualified people (like current peer review process) it's a open door to a big mess!

      Massive approval != correct publication. (just look how many people use homeopathy...)

  • As is, I would say scientists do leverage quite a bit of practices as exemplified by the open web, just it might not be as open to the public.

    The last three labs I worked in shared work with a wiki system internally. Friends I know in collaborations more than a couple people also have similar setups. They are usually not open to the public, but access on some of them are granted to people who ask or at least people on similar projects. Usually the hesitation to open it up comes about because the write

  • I for one can't wait for academic credentials to be judged based on .... #cough# ... blogs.
  • "Scientists created the web"

    No—_engineers_ created the web.

    • Tim Berners-Lee [wikipedia.org] is a computer scientist. Robert Cailliau [wikipedia.org] is an informatics engineer and a computer scientist. Nicola Pellow [wikipedia.org] was a math undergrad. The Web was created [wikipedia.org] at CERN [wikipedia.org] (European Organization for Nuclear Research) and first deployed to science departments and physics labs like SLAC [wikipedia.org] (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) and Fermilab. [wikipedia.org]

      So yes, _scientists_ did create the Web.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"