Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Open Science

I guess I'm officially the guinea pig of the KochLab (I don't know why Koch puts a space there... it's not like it's his lab or anything). Well Koch is the real pioneer because he is the one who initiated the whole open science thing 2 years ago. If I have to guess, I would say I am the most open person to the idea. This could stem from the fact that I really have no clue how most scientists behave when it comes to research. I always envisioned a world where everyone shares what they study. In a sense that is true, but I never imagined that there would be underhandedness like scooping. Wikipedia and other internet media have fueled my ideas, but then Koch showed me the real world.

Anyways, as Koch mentioned in another post (on another blog) we've been a part of OpenWetWare (KochLab)for two years now. While a part of them for so long, we have not performed much open research. We have had our own little community on a private wiki they supplied us. That experience has been amazing. On there I have the freedom to do anything. I mean anything. I keep a lot of personal information there (which can be viewed on my personal blog). The private wiki allows me to enjoy science a little more and the fun things I do there have really helped me learn wiki-ing a lot. Some of those things I don't feel I could/should do in the public eye because it isn't of the utmost professionalism. Maybe in time I will loosen on that stance.

I started on the public wiki around the time I first joined the lab (same time I started using the private wiki). Koch warned us of some dangers of going open, and since I've kept my exposure at a minimum. I'm not saying Koch is holding me back, that's far from the truth. I just felt that since there are more reputations than my own at stake, I should be a team player and do what I think is best for us all.

My initial work involved some minor changes to the OWW logo and some random other things. I stole the userbox template from Wikipedia and added that to OWW. The Wiki-ing and the OWW logo allowed me to rediscover a passion in a new media - graphic design. After messing with the OWW logo I embarked on a mission to create the ultimate KochLab logo (hopefully soon to be added to this page). I do other graphic design too (also on my blog), but that has been put aside so that I can focus on developing my own projects. I will post descriptions of these in more detail eventually on the public site.

Koch realized that I have some talents in the biological aspects of our course of study (we all have been physics trained), and now I am joining (part time) a biology lab in the cancer research section of campus. I will publish everything I do in my notebook on OWW, and hope to bring a little open science to our friends over at UNM Cancer Research (sorry, I'm just tired of adding links). You can follow everything I do (almost daily) research wise in my notebook and I encourage you to follow our lab on OWW as well. Also check out other things that I do on my user page.

Times are changing and I'm proud I get to be one of the pioneers of it all.

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