Ignite Sydney talk on Open Science and TSL

11 Aug
Published by MatTodd


general open research

I recently gave a talk on open science at Ignite Sydney. These talks are a real challenge in that you have 5 minutes to get across an idea, with the slides rotating every 15 seconds behind you. The event was in a cool club/gallery in the middle of Sydney, and is the first talk I've ever given where I was preceded by a beatbox act. Apparently I was the first scientist to go to Ignite Sydney.
The reaction I got to the talk was fantastic. I started with a thesis that we're actually all scientists under the skin, since we all ask questions and believe our senses. Naturally people came up to me afterwards and said "So what can we do? We're not scientists, and we don't have a lab." This is a defining question for open science.
Those of us curating open projects must keep this in mind, that we must lower barriers to entry for people, the public, to get involved. The power of doing this has been spectacularly demonstrated by the Foldit paper in Nature. For the moment, some answers to the question "what can we do?" are: 1) to ask questions on this site, in public, 2) help us to maintain and develop this website, for example by cross-linking posts and tidying up old items, and 3) find people who can help us, i.e. using the web to locate people with expertise in the reactions that are central to the chemistry. The current list of things we need are shown here. We need help from the public (to ask questions and keep us on our toes), from chemists (who know how to make things) and from software developers (take a look at the site for 5 minutes, and pick something to improve...)