Open Notebook: Chytrid Project


Open notebook science (ONS) is the practice of making the primary record of a research project publicly available online as it is generated. This involves placing the personal, or laboratory, notebook of the researcher(s) online along with all raw and processed data, and any associated material. The approach can be summed up by the slogan "no insider information". This is far from the norm of scientific practice, but over the last year of talking to some of the leading practitioners of ONS, notably Jean-Claude Bradley and Cameron Neylon , I have become convinced that I would like to try it.

This wiki is one part of our feasibility test of ONS, a space where all the data will be posted. The other part is our blog , where our part-formed thoughts, ideas, planning, and general commentary on ONS stuff will be published. Anyone familiar with ONS will immediately recognize that this is a clone of the Jean-Claude Bradley approach. I have discussed this with Jean-Claude and it seems sensible to carry out our first faltering steps in a tested format.

Our approach to ONS is itself an experiment. Only time will tell if we are able or willing to continue in this format. Apart from funding, it depends whether this idea wins hearts and minds - not only in our lab, but beyond it. In part, that depends how much interaction we receive. the project we are beginning is a new field for us, so we don't expect the world to be queuing up to help us, but to be successful, the downside risk of ONS needs to be balanced by the upside of helpful positive interactions from interested observers.