What is open science?

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Part of the periodic table


In his autobiography, Just for Fun, Linux creator Linus Torvalds argues that the open source process tends to mirror the scientific enterprise. "Science was originally viewed as something dangerous, subversive, and antiestablishment—basically how software companies sometimes view open source," he writes. And like science, Torvalds suggests, open source drives innovation: "It is creating things that until recently were considered impossible, and opening up unexpected new markets."

Lately, however, we've been hearing more about ways the relationship between open source and science might in fact be reciprocal—how science might begin to look more like open source. Researchers and scientists around the world are calling for freely-licensed data sets; open-access publishing conditions; and collaborative, transparent peer review. They're seeking ways open source principles might enhance centuries-old practices of knowledge production in the digital age.

It's becoming a movement: open science.

And we're here to explain it.

Be sure to read and share our newest resource guide—"What is Open Science?"—to learn more about the ways openness, transparency, rapid prototyping, and collaboration are impacting the ways science is both practiced and funded. We're launching it today. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Nullius in verba!


A collection of articles on the topic of open source software, tools, hardware, philosophies, and more in science.

Bryan Behrenshausen
Bryan formerly managed the Open Organization section of Opensource.com, which features stories about the ways open values and principles are changing how we think about organizational culture and design. He's worked on Opensource.com since 2011. Find him online as semioticrobotic.


Realistically, open science won't happen in the truest sense in our lifetimes, because most scientists don't want it. Instead they want to carefully control scientific output, not only for scientific reasons but also to block undesirable output for self-serving reasons. This is why we have the anonymous peer review system.

A physicist and I have broken new ground on major problems in cosmology. We don't post our findings anywhere because that's a waste of time. No such findings would be published. Neither would they stay posted to Arxiv.org.

Here's a benchmark test for open science: Look up the Schwarzschild metric on Wikipedia. The first equation there is used to "discover" all black holes. In that equation replace the first two r's with r_s. This revised metric doesn't predict black holes, yet agrees with all observations to date. Unlike the Schwarzschild metric the new metric is compatible with quantum mechanics. This should be a major discovery, as it solves two of the top problems in physics. But it isn't publishable, not even at a site claiming to be open science. The title of the paper would make people angry, among the reasons is that many $millions are riding on grants to develop quantum gravity and to study black holes.

As for me, science is the source of everything, and we make it. My friends from term paper writer service agree with this opinion. The science leads us to progress, and the scientists really deserve their grants.

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