I’d like to start a new category on the blog: “Open Science“.
The first topic that I’d like to talk about here is the activity of scientists on the web. It was discussed by other bloggers before, but this topic is so interesting. For example one of the last and very good discussion on the JOVE blog.
Today scientists have some very nice open access resources ( PLoS, Nature Precedings, JOVE…) where they can easily leave a comment and start a discussion. I was happy when Nature Publishing Group Web made a possibility for commenting and discussion on the web right after the paper published in Nature journals, which is the same option we have today in popular scientific journals, such as the Scientist.
But if you look at many publications on those resources you will find field for discussion/commenting is neat. Why so?
I’ve heard sometimes from my colleagues about many papers, published in Nature even – “This is a bullshit!“. But what make these guys not put this opinion right after paper online and explain why he/she thinks that? Otherwise nobody will hear their opinion. Now we have tools and possibilities – go ahead and do it! You’re an expert and YOU can make an impact on society! A print version never allow you to do that.
Unfortunately we have very low, even close to zero, activity of scientists commenting or starting public discussion. I was thinking about it a lot. Why do we need to comment? I’d like to highlight only a few reasons:
* to introduce yourself and show to whole world that you’re an expert and “know shit”;
* to increase impact on society of particular work that has been done;
* to make science more smart and productive by avoiding mistakes (what you found in particular published work) or troubleshooting online;
* to support your favorite scientists/authors or poke the competitors;
* to stimulate and support developers (such as NPG web or PLoS team or bloggers) to continue developing web tools for scientists and creating more intellectual products. They are need your feedback!
* to create your professional network;
* …. ect (you’ll ad more in comments)
So what makes scientists do not comment? Do they need more time to realize that? But aren’t they smart people who are always on leading edge? Too lazy? or maybe just scared of something? Like a phobia of public speaking…
Please feel free to express your opinion below.