Generation Open: Sneak Peek Into Science's Future at OpenCon 2014 | Absolutely Maybe, S... - 0 views
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Traditionally, research was conducted by a single scientist or a small team of scientists within a single laboratory. The scientist(s) would conduct the majority of required experiments themselves, even if they did not initially have the necessary expertise or equipment. If they could not conduct an experiment themselves, they would attempt to find a collaborator in another lab to help them by using a barter system. This barter system essentially involves one scientist asking for a favor from another scientist, with the potential upside being co-authorship on any publications that are produced by the work. This type of collaborative arrangement depends heavily on personal networks developed by scientists.
The amount of collaboration required in research will continue to increase, driven by many factors including:
- The need for ever more complex and large scale instrumentation to delve deeper into biological and physical processes
- The maturation of scientific disciplines requiring more and more knowledge in order to make significant advances, a demand which can often only be met by pooling knowledge with others
- An increasing desire to obtain cross-fertilization across disciplines
So with large teams of scientists, often based at remote institutions, increasingly needing to work together to solve complex problems, there will be a demand for new tools to help facilitate collaboration. Specifically, there will be an increasing need for tools that allow researchers to easily find and access other scientists with the expertise required to advance their research projects. In my view, to operate most efficiently these tools also need new methods to reward researchers for participating in these collaborations.
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One result of the rise in research requiring the combination of multiple specialized areas of expertise on ever shortening time-scales is, unfortunately, a concomitant decrease in the reproducibility of the published results (New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Nature.). It is now apparent that independent validation of key experimental findings is an essential step that will be placed in the research process.
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