Social Sciences
Open Science platforms expose research to the masses
Life / 30 Jan 2012
As Cassandra Report subscribers know from 2010’s FaSCInation macro trend, the possession of scientific knowledge has gained its own form of street cred. More recently, “Open Science” collaborations have lent a new prestige to hacking. But this movement goes well beyond fashion. In fact, the Internet now affords researchers an efficient method of scientific discovery within which almost anyone can contribute to experiments, be they physical, digital or social.
: “Hackerspaces”
are surfacing in considerable numbers, demonstrating that young researchers want lab environments that are as social as their online lives. To that end, a “biohackers” space was created for scientists and entrepreneurs to explore innovations in biology. The 2,500-square-foot BioCurious community lab in the Silicon Valley offers members a welcoming site in which to conduct experiments and/or participate in enrichment classes. To date, 30 paying members have used the space, leading the founders to consider starting an incubator to fund startups, similar to that of Y Combinator or Bing Booster. Suddenly, the idea of meeting a new ‘lab partner’ doesn’t sound too harrowing at all.
A new era of science has emerged that allows researchers to collaborate on a global scale in ways that were never before possible, as new networking sites provide a platform for scientists to build on each other’s ideas. Currently, ResearchGate is the largest such network on the web with 1.3 million members. The open community allows scientists to put their heads together, even if they’re on opposite sides of the world, to share, respond, debate and pool resources. Opportunities for plugged-in scientists to convene face-to-face are also gaining popularity, but the possibilities for progress within the realm of networked science are particularly strong.
As seemingly disparate left- and right-brained disciplines continue to intertwine, the worlds of science and art are colliding. Super/Collider, the latest project from cultural journalist Chris Hatherill (Vice, Dazed and Confused), is a website for creative types who lack formal training to apply their creative skills to their love of science. After noticing that so-called hipsters were particularly interested in science, Hatherill decided they deserved a hub outside of the academic sphere in which to house their ideas. London’s answer to Brooklyn’s popular Secret Science Club, Super/Collider’s Science Fair enrichment program also invites artists and astronomers alike to mix aesthetics and experiments over cocktails.
©The Intelligence Group