OpenWetWare talk:Mission

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Working on an update to the mission statement

(see http://www.google.com/corporate/ for one example)

OpenWetWare's mission is to make research better by providing transparency throughout the entire research process, from idea to discovery or invention to the next idea.

About the mission statement

The goals of OWW are to support open research, education, publication, and discussion in biological sciences and engineering. We promote and support collaborations among researchers, students, and others who are working towards these goals. We believe the open science improves the quality and pace of scientific and engineering research.

  • Vincent 10:41, 9 August 2007 (EDT):
    • How about using a bigger font for the mission statement to distinguish the aim from the means ?
      • Reshma 13:48, 6 September 2007 (EDT): Made it bold.
    • Would using the verb 'support' mean that OWW could be seen as a funding body ? How about: "The goal of OWW is to offer an open forum to promote research, education, ..."
      • Reshma 13:48, 6 September 2007 (EDT): The thinking here is that we aren't just tied to offering a platform for sharing research. We also want to work with others and basically do whatever we can to further this mission. If we had money to support other people doing this stuff, we would :)

Proposed addition to mission page

We are taking three approaches to achieve our mission

  1. Lower the technical barriers to sharing and dissemination of knowledge in biological research (not anymore biology and biological engineering ?).
    • Scientific and engineering research have strong traditions of publishing research. However, the pace of publishing research (often 6-12 months) has lagged the pace of research. Moreover, much of the information generated in the course of research fails to get captured in research articles (the traditional mechanism for sharing research). Thus, we advocate new, faster timescale publishing mediums like OpenWetWare that can capture biological knowledge as it is generated to complement the existing scientific publishing mechanisms. We are always seeking new tools and technologies that make this open sharing of research easier.
  • Vincent 11:14, 9 August 2007 (EDT): What about the aspects related to digitization, storage, and curation of the information. Those are services provided by OWW but it might be too much details ?.
    • Reshma 13:48, 6 September 2007 (EDT): Yeah I think this might be too much detail. I think the mission statement should capture what we're trying to do but not every detail of how we're going about it.
  1. Foster a community of researchers in biology and biological engineering that values and celebrates the open sharing of information.
    • Peer review is a fundamental part of biological research. We use it to assess papers for publication, talks to be presented at conferences, grant proposals for funding and job hiring and promotion. Thus, an important part of our mission to promoter the open sharing of research is building a community that recognizes and values that sharing.


  1. Explore how open publication platforms like OpenWetWare can tie into existing reward structures in research
    • Ultimately, for the open sharing and digitization of research to be standard practice in scientific research, it will need to be integrated into existing reward structures in science. Researchers need to "receive credit" when they make their protocols, datasets, model files etc. freely available to others. We consider this to be a critical but long-term goal of OpenWetWare.


Additionally, would it make sense to add a sentence about why we care about open sharing of research and what it means for the pace and quality of scientific research?

  • Vincent 11:14, 9 August 2007 (EDT): I agree it could be good to define what OWW defines as 'open sharing of research'. At the same time, reading through the mission, it seems that this concept is mentioned many times but in different ways: 'open science', open sharing', 'open research', 'open sharing of research'. Would it be meaningful to have a common 'branding' ? I like the 'open sharing of research'.
    • Reshma 13:48, 6 September 2007 (EDT): Changed to 'open sharing of research'.
    • Ricardo Vidal 13:41, 6 September 2007 (EDT): This is a pertinent observation. It seems that this is an issue amongst the open science advocates. A good example of this ambiguity can be read in this post.
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