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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cameron's Drexel Talk on ONS

Cameron Neylon gave a very thoughtful talk at Drexel on Friday about using blogs to capture the science going on in his group then deciding to open his laboratory notebooks to the world.

He was refreshingly honest about his progress and motivations. For example, at one point he noted that a gel image was missing on one of the posts. Instead of glossing over it, he pointed out how this just makes transparent how difficult it is to properly maintain a laboratory notebook. As long as you don't have to show it to anyone, it is tempting to claim that your lab notebook is better maintained than it really is.

And this is a positive thing - science is messy and even through the human failings of ideal record keeping, science gets done. Now if we finally admit to that and are willing to work transparently, we have an opportunity and an incentive to set a higher standard.

That is one of the tangible benefits of Open Notebook Science.

Cameron's talk was recorded and is available here.


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