Is Open Access Science the Future?

From Scientific American:

Net Web 2.0 technologies open up a much richer dialogue, says Bill Hooker, a postdoctoral cancer researcher at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Portland, Ore., and author of a three-part survey on open-science efforts that appeared at 3 Quarks Daily (, where a group of bloggers write about science and culture. “To me, opening up my lab notebook means giving people a window into what I’m doing every day,” Hooker says. “That’s an immense leap forward in clarity. In a paper, I can see what you’ve done. But I don’t know how many things you tried that didn’t work. It’s those little details that become clear with an open [online] notebook but are obscured by every other communication mechanism we have. It makes science more efficient.” That jump in efficiency, in turn, could greatly benefit society, in everything from faster drug development to greater national competitiveness.

Of course, many scientists remain wary of such openness—especially in the hypercompetitive biomedical fields, where patents, promotion and tenure can hinge on being the first to publish a new discovery. For these practitioners, Science 2.0 seems dangerous: putting your serious work out on blogs and social networks feels like an open invitation to have your lab notebooks vandalized—or, worse, your best ideas stolen and published by a rival.

More here.