I’ve been hearing a little about Science 2.0… The idea being that it’s time to spawn a second-generation of science (like the second generation of the web…. web 2.0). This is part of the Open Access and Open Data science movement, like Public Library of Science (publishing freely available scientific works) and Science Commons (making data and other tools of science research available to other researchers). See also my post entitled E=mc^shared. I like this term, Science 2.0, as it encompasses many of these different approaches. The “new science” (if it ever comes to be) would encompass both open access to scientific work and more open sharing among researchers.

It turns out that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has now required that work funded with their moola has to be published in a free, online archive. Fantastic. On the other hand, open access such as this could hurt the bottom line of peer-reviewed publications, and it is important that those publications maintain their standards. On the third hand, peer reviewers aren’t paid by the journals (it’s volunteer), so how can the quality of peer review be tempered by less money coming in to the journals? Public Library of Science is peer-reviewed, after all, and it’s free!

I have to remark here, though it’s slightly off-topic, on how quickly things change. When I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I was gone from the US for two years. In those two years (1997-1999) everybody and their brother got a web site. I remember coming home and my mother suggested I look up the bus schedule online, and I looked at her like she was crazy. That would be so difficult and cumbersome, probably in some weird text format, if it could be found at all. I didn’t yet know about Google. And now, think back two years. Was any of this Web 2.0 stuff — blogs, wikis, podcasts — so hot? Maybe a few people had them, and Wikipedia was getting some press. But Peace Corps volunteers coming back now after two years in the bush (at least, if they didn’t have internet while they were gone, which is now a rarity) would be in for a bit of culture shock.