Making the web work for science - UND

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Information about Making the web work for science - UND

Published on February 5, 2014

Author: kaythaney


making the web work for science kaitlin thaney @kaythaney ; @mozillascience univ. of north dakota / 5 feb 2014

doing good is part of our code

help researchers use the power of the open web to change science’s future.


science is still (largely) rooted in 17th c. practices. (and not in that “retro is cool” sort of way.)

early forms of knowledge sharing

our current systems are designed to create friction. despite original intentions.

“ What Des-Cartes did was a good step. You have added much several ways, & especially in taking ye colours of thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants. “ - Isaac Newton, 1676

existing system is imperfect


ability to reproduce experiments,

incentive to change,

“ traditions last not because they are excellent, but because influential people are averse to change and because of the sheer burdens of transition to a better state ... “ Cass Sunstein


“open science” - access to content, data, code, materials. - emergence of “web-native” tools. - rewards for openness, interop, collaboration, sharing. - push for ROI, reuse, recomputability, transparency.

research cycle idea publish lit review share results analyze materials retest collect data experiment

types of information (added complexity) articles proceedings hypothesis/query prof activities mentorship teaching activities negative results content non-digital “stuff” protocols parameters analysis code datasets models

blocking points (to name a few ...) idea access publish attaining materials share results analyze retest collect data experiment

“... up to 70% of research from academic labs cannot be reproduced, representing an enormous waste of money and effort.” - Elizabeth Iorns, Science Exchange

Source: Michener, 2006 Ecoinformatics.


is open enough? what does it mean to “operate on/like the web”?

code (interop) community (people) code/data literacy (means to learn/engage)

our systems need to talk to one another.

“One worry I have is that, with reviews like this, scientists will be even more discouraged from publishing their code [...] We need to get more code out there, not improve how it looks.”

code as a research object what’s needed to reuse ?

code as a research object

“There’s greater reward, and more temptation to bend the rules.” - David Resnik, bioethicist


we need to even (/ elevate) the playing field.

facing a digital skills gap

“Reliance on ad-hoc, selfeducation about what’s possible doesn’t scale.” - Selena Decklemann

learn from open source (culture as well as technology)

current activity: 129 instructors (60+, training) 109 bootcamps 3700+ learners

we need to build capacity, not just more nodes.

“research hygiene” instill best (digital, reproducible) practice

in an increasingly digital, datadriven world, what core skills, tools do the next-generation need?

education as a means of building community ... globally, as well as across disciplines.


shifting practice (and getting it to stick) is challenging. ... but not impossible.

disciplines as cultures

can we do the same for research on the web? 63 nations 10,000 scientists 50,000 participants

what are the necessary components? tools and technology cultural awareness, best practice connections, open dialogue skills training


operating in isolation doesn’t scale.

coordination and collaboration are key. design for interoperability. remember the non-technical challenges.

join us (and the conversation.) teach, contribute, learn.

questions? @kaythaney ; @mozillascience

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