Who are you?
OpenWetWare is a group of researchers that are interested in increasing the amount of organization, dissemination, and communication in biological research (or just want an easy way to keep a lab webpage up-to-date). Everyone that has access to OpenWetWare can edit all pages in the site. Thus the evolution of all the pages are due to everyone involved. If you want to know who has done what, check out the history file associated with every page.
Can I/we join?
Yes!!! The more people that are contributing, the more useful the site becomes. Please email us.
Why would I (or my lab) want to join?
Check out the Why join? page for a list of reasons why OpenWetWare may be of use to you and your lab.
What's the deal with access?
Currently we have the site as world-readable and member editable, and there are essentially no options to make pages be otherwise. We decided upon the current level of access based upon our key goals of open access and collaboration. We also understand that there are times where information cannot be posted for the world/other students/et al., to read. The Endy lab handles this by certain members having private wiki's on their own computers where they organize their thoughts and information. Other groups have internal secure wiki's to which only lab members have access. However, we feel that there is a lot of information that people will benefit from sharing on OpenWetWare.
In the future, we may be able to implement a system with more edit/view options for individual pages. After talks with some of the people over at Mediawiki, they have begun writing code to make edit/view access more dynamic and programmable by individual users. In time, perhaps we can incorporate some of these improvements as they are made available. This will offer some semblance of security (and would not get indexed by google for example), but is not as safe as say having a site behind a firewall. Anyways, there are a variety of options, but in the end you have to balance increased security with decreased ease of access and manipulability. For the time being, we will keep OpenWetWare at the current access level.
Do you ever plan on going commercial?
How can I be assured this site will be here tomorrow?
Currently there are several labs to whom wiki functionality is vital, thus the wiki minimally will remain as long as these labs are in existance. Hardware and support has generously been donated by the MIT BioMicro Center. OpenWetWare is backed up daily, and we are continuing to improve the redundancy and backup capabilities. So as far as relying on an academic initiative goes, this is a fairly good bet.
Why the dual license?
Long story short, we like Creative Commons for its machine and human readability. We like GNU's FDL because Wikipedia and others use it. We would like the two groups to settle their trivial differences, so that we can all move on with our lives.
How did this site get started?
Are you people just a bunch of scientific hippies? Why are you doing this?
See the "who are you?" question above. In general, we are not all hippies. We are doing this to construct a resource for ourselves. It is ultimately a selfish pursuit. Peruse some of the pages and you will notice that different labs/groups/individuals use OpenWetWare in different ways. Like many other things in life, OpenWetWare is what you make of it.
How do I edit a page?
See the help page.
Are there any rules?
Check out the etiquette page for guidelines on creating and editing pages.
How do I make the wiki pages for my lab/group look like a static website?
Check out OpenWetWare:Dewikify for instructions on generating static websites from OpenWetWare wiki pages. See Synthetic Biology and http://syntheticbiology.org for a comparison of a wiki page with its static counterpart.