Archive for November, 2011

Open science now!

November 25, 2011

March 2011 TEDx-Waterloo Talk by Michael Nielson (posted Nov 2011) advocates for scientists to more openly share their data.  It is his belief that “any publicly funded science should be open science” … in order to more quickly solve problems in new ways.  He goes on to say “… the single most important thing that we can do to give impetus to ‘open science’ is create a general awareness amongst the population of the issue of ‘open science’ and of it’s critical importance.”

How important?  Consider the example mentioned in Edward Tenner‘s March 2011 TED Talk on how the U.S. forced such open sharing of data among researchers in WWII to quickly solve the problem of producing massive amounts of penillicin.   There are scores of other problems that would benefit from “open science”.

Getting back to the Nielson TEDx Talk, he relates how Galileo hid his research in anagrams and cyphers (like others did in his time) to prevent others from taking credit.  We got a glimpse of Galileo’s notes and methods during at the February 2009 Ignite Ann Arbor talk by University of Michigan Special Collections librarian Peggy Daub.

Galileo’s decision to more openly share his telescope discoveries surely prompted others to do the same.   One wonders how much less knowledge we would have today if they had continued to keep their discoveries more sequestered.



Open Transportation Data

November 20, 2011
Zimmerman had a more philosophical justification for how a government agency should act: “Putting information in the public domain is part of what we do.”
… quote from ReadWriteWeb: How the DC’s Metro Opened Up Its Data

More government agencies need to understand the value of doing this… and then do it.

How the DC’s Metro Opened Up Its Data
Three years ago, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority looked lost, and so did many of its riders. Those who hadn’t memorized Metro’s schedules had to employ its persnickety Trip Planner,…

Mapping Communications 1632-1824

November 12, 2011

(from ReadWriteWeb 11/9/2011)

Stanford’s Mapping the Republic of Letters project maps the letters exchanged among hundreds of individuals from 1632 to 1824, many of which led to the various revolutions of the time.

The interactive display tool allows one to select which correspondents, sender/receiver option, date range, and display option to use.  Not only can you visualize the “social network” of various intellectuals, you can see how it changes over time.

It would be nice if the display tool is soon available as an open source product that all can use to visualize our internet communications.