Now you are in the subtree of Perimeter Open Research project. 

New tools for open research and online collaborations

Many tools and platforms for open research already exist; which features are still missing in these tools? How can we imagine innovations that go beyond ‘just another tool’—that are game changers?

Problem of existence of lots of different tools: by using them, we don’t maximize common knowledge. The more tools we create, the more we dilute this knowledge.

Need a cloud/electronic Kiva!

What works with existing systems

  • Conversational platforms (blogs, SO, etc.)
  • Peer review process? With perhaps some changes, e.g., editors mediate more actively
  • But is an open science ethos compatible with blind review?

Key unmet needs of existing tools

  • Who to trust?
    • How do we develop metrics of “quality of character”? This would encompass…
      • History of contributions (quantity work per project; retractions; some classifications of leaders, contributors, followers)
      • Perhaps a test project to assess interested collaborators, esp. graduate students, post-docs
      • How to measure intrinsic motivation, students who seek opportunities actively?
  • How to democratize access to collaboration networks?
    • How to lower barriers to entry?

Existing tools

  • PeerLibrary,
  • Fermat’s Library
    • Fermat’s library has a Chrome extension called Librarian for commenting on arXiv papers. If it works that would be great, but it is missing users - I tried it on several maths papers on arXiv but there have been no comments. This may be due to some design problems, or simply lack of exposure to researchers.
  • Github
    • Github is a great tool for open research. The only problems are 1. Steep learning curve for those not familiar with Git / UNIX; 2. No maths rendering support - yes one can host .tex files on Github, but there is no way to have a discussion involving mathematics on Github; 3. Not suitable for hosting data of nontrivial size, but this can be mitigated by hosting data on e.g. Dropbox and providing a link on Github.
  • (what’s missing in) Wikipedia
    • No one has control of the contents. One’s contribution can be easily overwritten by another person
    • Deletionist problem: any entry deemed “not notable enough” risks fast deletion. I imagine many cutting edge research topics can get deleted for this.
    • No attribution/credit or performance measure
    • No original research.
  • Stackexchange / mathoverflow
    • Q&A websites, not meant for discussion like Github issues
    • Questions can be put on hold / locked etc. due to all kinds of reasons even if legitimate
  • Technical discussion
  • Hackernews
    • Great forum for high quality discussions, heavily moderated
    • But not for science research
  • Online document editing: overleaf/sharelatex, google docs
    • Overleaf/sharelatex are just for latex and relatively slow to compile
    • Need to be online to access/edit
    • Google docs is not ideal from a privacy point of view
  • Open knowledge map
    • Use of meta data to create knowledge maps for specific keywords
    • Would be even better with a time series (e.g. how did a discourse develop over time; i.e. new keywords show up and become bigger or a keyword enters a new field …)
  • arXiv
    • Overlay comment systems: SciRate, VoxCharta.
    • overlay journals: SciPost, Quantum
  • Open Journals
  • Online collaboration/publishing
  • New/better interactive ways to present technical information (read only)

Higher level concepts

  • data mists
  • blockchain republic
  • moon shot

A hacker news for science would be useful. For one thing, we can post links to results of this workshop on it for maximum exposure.

If a tool is to be universally useful (for all scientists), it needs to solve universal problems. Do scientists have universal problems that one tool can solve?