What do you think of the "open sharing of knowledge?" Good or bad? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Michael Nielsen on Networked Science - WSJ.com
- The New Einsteins Will Be Scientists Who Share From cancer to cosmology, researchers could race ahead by working together—online and in the open
- In January 2009, a mathematician at Cambridge University named Tim Gowers decided to use his blog to run an unusual social experiment. He picked out a difficult mathematical problem and tried to solve it completely in the open, using his blog to post ideas and partial progress.
- The discussion ignited, and in just six weeks, the mathematical problem had been solved.
- they have pioneered a new approach to problem-solving. Their work is an example of the experiments in networked science that are now being done to study everything from galaxies to dinosaurs.
- These projects use online tools as cognitive tools to amplify our collective intelligence. The tools are a way of connecting the right people to the right problems at the right time, activating what would otherwise be latent expertise.
- Ventures such as the Polymath Project remain the exception, not the rule.
- If you're a scientist applying for a job or a grant, the biggest factor determining your success will be your record of scientific publications. If that record is stellar, you'll do well. If not, you'll have a problem. So you devote your working hours to tasks that will lead to papers in scientific journals.
- Consider, for example, the open scientific wikis launched by a few brave pioneers in fields like quantum computing, string theory and genetics (a wiki allows the sharing and collaborative editing of an interlinked body of information, the best-known example being Wikipedia). Specialized wikis could serve as up-to-date reference works on the latest research in a field, like rapidly evolving super-textbooks. They could include descriptions of major unsolved scientific problems and serve as a tool to find solutions.
- most such wikis have failed.
- We have to overthrow the idea that it's a diversion from "real" work when scientists conduct high-quality research in the open.
- we must first choose to create a scientific culture that embraces the open sharing of knowledge.
- Mr. Nielsen is a pioneer in the field of quantum computing and the author of "Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science," from which this is adapted.
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