Mission, Vision, and Strategic Goals (Updated)
The long-term mission of OWW is to support open sharing of 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 that open sharing of research improves the quality and pace of scientific and engineering research.
We envision OpenWetWare as a platform upon which communities of researchers, not limited by geography or secrecy but by interests and abilities, can gather to openly share their work.
1. Lower the technical barriers to sharing and dissemination of knowledge in biological research
2. Build a community of researchers in synthetic biology that values, practices, and innovates the open sharing of information. Extend this model to other biological and engineering communities
3. Integrate OpenWetWare-based information into existing and future reward structures in research
Accomplishing our mission, vision, and goals
From its inception to the present (early 2008), OWW's focus has been on serving its current community of users by developing a technical framework (the wiki) for sharing information. We can continue in this vein, adding various tools supporting the research pipeline to the already wide and flat structure of OWW. Sure, it'll make OWW more useful, but will it make OWW more vital or more strategic?
Rather than focus on the current users and what might catch their interest, I want OWW to be part of a bigger, more proactive effort to bring a community into being. Synthetic Biology is the obvious strategic choice. OWW provides the information and knowledge management framework to support the growth of SB as a community, and could be the driving force to making it happen. In conjunction with The Registry, BioBricks Foundation, iGEM, and IBE, we have all the parts to design a successful experiment in community building.
OWW as we know it will not cease to exist; in fact, it will continue serving the current community of users much as it has been. I propose we build a Synthetic Biology organization in a tight orbit around it, drawing from its resources. This way our current and near term OWW projects like protocols publishing, lab notebooks can be used as developed with SB possibly driving some of the development. Launching a community effort like SB would also give us better opportunities to experiment with other communications forms such as launching a peer-reviewed journal, a professional society, and better support for efforts like the Registry, iGEM, and BBF. Having these assets would also help us in our effort to raise additional funding.
As our first "planned community" takes shape, we will gain the experience to propose additional communities, or to help launch nascent communities.
Launching a new community could also fire up users' passion to belong and passion to help build. Outside of the core OWW group, many researchers do not identify themselves with OWW in the way we would like them to. OWW is a tool they use to find a protocol or a place they go to set up their lab website--not the community to which they belong. In other words, researchers draw their identity from what they do, not where they go to do it.
So I propose we launch a synthetic biology organization, bring the Registry, BBF, iGEM, and IBE along, and at the same time continue developing new projects along the research pipeline that will support the all OWW users including this new SynthBio Community.
Background and brainstorming ideas are at OpenWetWare:strategy.