OpenWetWare:Respond to NSF

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High Level Comments from NSF

  1. Wants to see a 3-year plan (willing to hear case for 5 years, w/ evaluation point at EOY3)
  2. Wants to see money spent on actual stuff (e.g., code) not project management
    • Jasonk 19:16, 16 January 2007 (EST):What are the chances we can convince them a community developer (the position we outlined for the NIH $) is doing 'stuff'? This is not project management (e.g. not dealing with funding, strategic decisions, etc), but rather a person supporting the growth of various communities on OWW - communities that in the end will do more "stuff" then a couple paid programmers could ever do. Also, those communities will be persistent when the grant money ends in 3 years, while the programmers won't. Plus we'd really like to get a volunteer software developer community off the ground, since new code will need support when the 3 years is over as well.
    • Vincent 13:01, 17 January 2007 (EST): Is there any possibilities to spend money on bringing face to face this virtual community in order to stimulate interactions/collaborations:
      • OWW annual conference
      • OWW workshops on hot OWW topics (characterization of parts, optimization of protocols, ethical issues ...)
      • OWW twinning (money available for some OWW user to visit some other(s) on a specific OWW project )

What user types should OWW target for focused development support? What are the needs of these communities?

  1. Individual researcher
  2. Research lab
  3. Research community
  4. Educator
  5. Journal
  6. Organization
  7. Other?
  • Sri Kosuri (talk): The focus here should not be on user types, but on any of the above categories that are willing to share information openly on biology research.

How should OWW best leverage existing software development efforts?

  1. MediaWiki
  2. Jot/Google
  3. Apple OS Next (e.g., an OS with a built-in wiki)
  4. Other?
  • Sri Kosuri (talk): It's somewhat silly to consider this question now. Currently, Jot/Apple is not available to us; and Mediawiki seems to be the best software for what we are doing. As opportunities arrive for better software in the future, the Steering Committee (w/ support by technical people hired by the grant) have already shown they are well positioned to make such decisions (i.e., private wikis, moving servers, user management system).

What should be the relationship between OWW and publishers?

  1. None
  2. Sell-out
  3. Destroy
  4. Creative partnership
  5. Other?
  • What does OWW get from working with publishers?
    1. Increased legitimacy
    2. Opportunity to subvert existing merit structure in science
    3. Push forward more rapid publication options / technologies
    4. others?
  • Why publishers anyway? What should OWW's relationship be with facebook/myspace? or with slashdot/reddit/digg, or Google? There are other groups that could be considered for partnerships as well.

Framework for thinking about OpenWetWare's mission

in progress, please contribute

OpenWetWare's stated mission is to promote the open sharing of information in biological science and engineering research. There are three primary approaches to achieving this goal.

Developing tools and technologies

Example tools and technologies that reduce the barriers to sharing information include

  1. Publish to OWW button for private wiki pages
  2. Publish to DSpace button for public wiki pages
  3. Mediawiki extension that allows auto import of information from existing scientific databases (analogous to the Biblio extension).
    1. Genbank
    2. PDB
    3. Genome databases
  4. Tools for visualization of scientific information on the wiki (note these would likely rely on permitting users to use existing viewers inside OpenWetWare)
    1. Sequence viewer
    2. Structure viewer
    3. Genome browser
  5. Image editor for generating graphics in OWW
  6. Tagging of wiki pages
  7. Wiki forum
  8. Dynamic ranking of pages (like Reddit or Digg but using your OWW account)
  9. Introduction of WYSIWYG wiki interface and/or switchover to alternate wiki implementation
  10. Semantic web tools for annotating data enhancing machine readability
  11. Tools for conversion of word documents to wiki format

Fostering a community that values sharing

Efforts that may help promote community growth and involvement include

  1. Developing tutorials for
    1. Starting a userpage
    2. Starting a class
    3. Starting a lab
    4. Starting a research community
  2. Developing and piloting norms for categorization of pages
  3. Establishing good examples of consensus protocols as a model for others to follow
  4. Creating videos of protocols on OWW
  5. Pushing through articles on OpenWetWare
  6. Organize an annual conference/retreat
  7. Advertizing, marketing, and recruiting users within the biological science and engineering community.

Incentivizing sharing via the scientific reward structure

Ways for OWW to push back on the existing system

  1. Getting journals to permit citations of OWW pages in papers
  2. Promote publishing of supplementary information to papers on OWW (not large datasets but rather protocols and details of experimental setup)
  3. Getting an "impact factor" for OWW (inclusion in the Thomson Scientific index)

Sustainable governance for OpenWetWare

In order to promote the above three approaches, OWW needs organization and leadership. How do we put into place this organization?

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