Open science

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Open science is a way of making scientific research. The idea is to immediately share everything that is not secret due to e.g. privacy issues, and in a collaborative manner develop shared understanding about the topic at hand.

Current situation and attitudes

Taylor & Francis has published an online survey on open access in 2014. They asked researchers worldwide about their views and attitudes about open access. Some of the key findings were:

  • Researchers are willing to give their their articles for further use provided that the use is non-commercial (Q5).
  • The most important property of peer review is to evaluate novelty and merit, even if it takes a lot of time. In contrast, post-publication peer review is seen important or very important by less than 25 % of respondents. It seems that speed is not important for researchers. Also, it seems that researchers want their work to be evaluated novel and worth merit by peers rather than by actual usage. (Maybe they know that there is no merit-producing system related to usage.) (Q8)
  • Vast majority of researchers (89 %) believe that journal articles will remain the main outputs of research also after ten years. (Q15)
  • A majority (63 %) believe that academic journals will remain the main publishing forum for research. However, a growing minority (21 %) believes that institutional or subject-based repositories will grow in importance and co-exist with journals. (Q18)

Overall, it seems that researchers are very conservative and see neither need for nor tendency toward a system where publishing data and publishing interpretations from data would be separated. Maybe this idea is so novel that researchers do not even recognise the possibility.

Research ideas

Attacks of disease

There are many diseases that start as attacks in minutes in seconds, such as in cardiovascular infarcts of heart or brain or deep venous thromboses. The question is what are the causal events that make the state of the blood go from non-clotted to clotted. Although the biochemical cascades are well known, from public health perspective more interesting is what are the practical events that lead to the clotting and how the person could learn to avoid those dangerous minutes or seconds of these events. It is not easy to develop a randomised clinical trial to solve this question, but open science could help in designing observational designs.

The problem is a control group that collects non-biased exposure data from non-attack events. After the attack the patient is likely to over-report exposures that happened to exist at the time of attack, thus masking the true exposure. But people could act as their own controls if the exposure data of non-attack events had been collected beforehand. Thus requires a very large group people of people who document suspected events in their lives at randomly selected time points. This is because only a fraction of them will get any kind of attack in the near future. But if people would have a personal health record where they could report symtoms that then would be parts of their mydata and patient records, this design might be affordable.

See also

Article in GeoJournal 78(1) · February 2011 [9]