NESTAs 2009 Crucible programme had its second residential last weekend and the group received a presentation from Dr Cameron Neylon from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Cameron is an enthusiast for open science – anything from open access publication to blogging about lab results as soon as you have them. Through open access to data and the collaboration that this allows, Camerom believes that we will make more progress and ultimately innovate quicker.
Interestingly many of the early career researchers who participate in Crucible found this appraoch alien and certainly not a way of working their home institutions promote!
The general feeling was that working this way could be risky for an early career researcher – what if someone steals your results?
Cameron has blogged about the event at Science in the Open and the article and responses have brought up some interesting ideas around the issue of risk. Careers in research are risky enough as it is – is working in an open way any more of a risk?, or could it actually create new research pathways and be less risky?
Another reply has suggested that the perceived risk is conencted to the way research is funded. The system has arisen whereby we effectively fund work that has alrady been done as grants will only be awarded for work that is so clear cut and proven that it has no risk associated with it. It is only in this environment that researchers can not risk sharing data or results in an open way.