Which field(s) have made the most progress toward open science?

+7 votes
46 views
asked Aug 5, 2015 in Open Science by Franck Dernoncourt (540 points)

I wonder which field(s) have made the most progress toward open science, and why. The percentage of open-access literature varies greatly across different fields as the image below illustrates, I would be curious to have some similar plot for open science as well as some explanation.

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by vzn (0 points)
CS/ software engr has a strong lead in [opensource.se] software! also think of ubiquity of linux!

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Alexander Konovalov (135 points)
If you think that this thread should be migrated to Academia as well, please edit the list of questions shortlisted for the migration [here](http://meta.openscience.stackexchange.com/questions/73/).

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Franck Dernoncourt (540 points)
@DavidKetcheson well first I am interested in the metrics used :)

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by David Ketcheson (0 points)
What precisely do you hope to measure?

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by jojo (285 points)
Nice figure, but does it have a source?

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3 Answers

+4 votes
answered Aug 8, 2015 by Jon Tennant (120 points)

It's very difficult to gauge, as 'open science' means a vast array of things, which varies from field to field.

In my field, Palaeontology, we've made huge steps through developing projects like the Paleobiology Database: https://paleobiodb.org/#/ This is a professionally curated archive of the history of life on Earth, and has led to over 100 publications in our field. The data for this is all openly licensed. There have also been recent advances in emulating this using machine reading approaches: http://www.nature.com/news/computers-read-the-fossil-record-1.17868

So in terms of the 'open data' aspect of open science, Palaeontology really is doing some great things atm!



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+2 votes
answered Aug 7, 2015 by just_curious (60 points)

I would say that theoretical physicist Paul Ginsparg put down a milestone towards open science by founding the ArXiv.

In particular the international (theoretical) physics and mathematics communities makes vigorous use of this pre-print server to freely and efficiently distribute results of cutting edge research in real-time. World-class researchers in these two fields regularly publish their results there before submitting to standard peer-reviewed journals.

Other, in particular more applied (some would say "down to earth") research fields, are more hesitant in embracing and accepting the ArXiv as a legitimate and valid source of high-quality research results, which for example means that citing ArXiv pre-prints when publishing in a standard peer-reviewed journal is (in)officially frowned upon.



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+1 vote
answered Aug 8, 2015 by jaipel (65 points)

While I have no hard numbers, my intuition tells me that genomics has made the most progress towards open science for the simple reason that most genomics data has been open since the mid-90s. This is primarily due to the efforts of the Human Genome Project and the culture of openness it engendered (which got a great boon from a) the Bermuda Principles and b) widespread opposition to efforts to patent genes, culminating in public statements by then-President Clinton).

Beyond that, I would suggest that neuroimaging has made great strides in open science (though I might be biased/ignorant because this is my field). The Human Connectome Project (HCP), which has explicitly modeled itself after the Human Genome Project, has released more than 500 individual resting-state fMRI sessions and ultimately plans to provide 1200 sessions for download (or mail order on physical media since terabytes of data is not so easy on the bandwidth). Prior to the HCP, the fMRI Data Center (fMRIDC) provided open access data sets starting in 1999. While the fMRIDC ultimately did not endure (primarily owing to technical limitations of the day; it was too expensive to store big data back when 1 GB was considered large), it paved the way for future efforts and established a precedent in the neuroimaging community. Additionally, there are efforts such as FCP-INDI (disclaimer: I'm affiliated with them) and OpenfMRI, which aggregate data from individual studies that might otherwise have gone unshared (i.e., it's not necessarily feasible for an individual lab to set up a web server for a 30 subject study, but when this scales to over 200 subjects and spans many labs it becomes worth it). A good summary of the state of open initiatives in neuroimaging can be found here and a table detailing known open datasets can be found here.



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