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Perimeter Open Research

Based on the
Conference Date:
Monday, March 26, 2018 (All day) to Wednesday, March 28, 2018 (All day)
Pirsa Collection (video/pdf): Open Research: Rethinking Scientific Collaboration


Scientific inquiry in the 21st century is beset with inefficiencies: a flood of papers not read, theories not tested, and experiments not repeated; a narrow research agenda driven by a handful of high-impact journals; a publishing industry that turns public funding into private profit; the exclusion of many scientists, particularly in developing countries, from cutting-edge research; and countless projects that are not completed for lack of skilled collaborators. These are all symptoms of a major communication bottleneck within the scientific community; the channels we rely on to share our ideas and findings—especially peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings—are inadequate to the scale and scope of modern science.

The practice of open research—doing science on a public platform that facilitates collaboration, feedback, and the spread of ideas—addresses these concerns. Open-source science lowers barriers to entry, catalyzing new discoveries. It fosters the real-time sharing of ideas across the globe, favoring cooperative endeavor and complementarity of thought rather than wasteful competition. It reduces the influence of publishing monopolies, enabling a new credit attribution model based on contributions made rather than references accrued. Overall, it democratizes science while creating a new standard of prestige: quality of work, instead of quantity of output.

This workshop will bring together a diverse group of researchers, from fields as diverse as physics, biology, computer science, and sociology, committed to open-source science. Together, we will review the lessons learnt from various pioneering initiatives, such as the Polymath project and Data for Democracy. We will discuss the opportunity to build a new tool, similar to the software development platform GitHub, to enable online collaborative science. We will consider the challenges associated with the adoption of such a tool by our peers and discuss ways to overcome them. Finally, we will sketch a roadmap for the actual development of that tool.