Wikis and Science 2.0

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Here is some interesting reading pertaining to wiki, with particular emphasis on their relation to science (in chronological order). For a list of wikis related thematically to SklogWiki see our WikiNode.


"Yet scientists are largely being left behind in this second revolution, as they are proving slow to adopt many of the latest technologies that could help them communicate online more rapidly and collaboratively than they do now."


  • Jane Klobas " Wikis: Tools for Information Work and Collaboration", Woodhead Publishing Limited (2006) ISBN 978-1-84334-178-9


"Uneasy with information websites policed by people with little expertise, scientists are creating their own online encyclopedias"

"...the same technological and demographic forces that are turning the Web into a massive collaborative work space are helping to transform the realm of science into an increasingly open and collaborative endeavor. Yes, the Web was, in fact, invented as a way for scientists to share information. But advances in storage, bandwidth, software, and computing power are pushing collaboration to the next level. Call it Science 2.0."


"Leading scientific observers already expect more change in the next 50 years of science than in the last 400 years of inquiry combined. As the pace of science quickens, there will be less value in stashing new scientific ideas, methods, and results in subscription-only journals and databases, and more value in wide-open collaborative-knowledge platforms that are refreshed with each new discovery. These changes will enhance the ability of scientists to find, retrieve, sort, evaluate, and filter the wealth of human knowledge, and, of course, to continue to enlarge and improve it."

"Science publishers' efforts to have the research community sup the Web 2.0 Kool-Aid have failed, and scientists have given a resounding thumbs down to a gamut of crowd-tapping initiatives, showgoers at SXSW heard on Saturday. A panel of science web publishers said scientists had consistently shunned wikis, tagging, and social networks, and have even proven reticent to leave comments on web pages."


"This is why publishers should be studying Wikipedia (and YouTube, and Google) -- because they are all showing us the new face of publishing. At their heart, they involve new means of content creation yes, but more profoundly, they involve new means of curation. Wikipedia creates a context within which authors can exercise their skills, displaying their knowledge and their passion. Yes, it allows for collaborative creation, and that's good."

"...Web-based "Science 2.0" is not only more collegial than the traditional variety, but considerably more productive."

"Web 2.0 fits so perfectly with the way science works, it's not whether the transition will happen but how fast".

As the author of an APS-published article, can I post my article or a portion of my article on a web resource like wikipedia or quantiki?
Sites like wikipedia and quantiki are strict about permissions and require that authors hold copyright to articles that they post there. In order to allow authors to comply with this requirement, APS permits authors to hold copyright to a "derived work" based on an article published in an APS journal as long as the work contains at least 10% new material not covered by APS's copyright and does not contain more than 50% of the text (including equations) of the original article.
"Anyone submitting to a section of the journal RNA Biology will, in the future, be required to also submit a Wikipedia page that summarizes the work. The journal will then peer review the page before publishing it in Wikipedia."


"...authority and peer review are concepts built into the core of science wikis."

"Blogs, wikis, open notebooks, InnoCentive and the like are just the beginning of online innovation."

"Online networking tools are pervasive, but why have scientists been so slow to adopt many of them? Michael Nielsen explains how we can build a better culture of online collaboration"

"And as these services have become household names, a constellation of applications for scientists started to gather under a “Science 2.0” banner: video journals and wikis for sharing protocols, and even social networks for researchers along the lines of Facebook. Their aim is to make scientific collaboration as easy as sharing videos of trips home from the dentist. Not many scientists are biting, though."

"The problem has always been that those research papers are on paper."

"...there are few signs that academics are really embracing the new opportunities offered by Web 2.0. Many academics’ idea of online collaboration is still emailing the findings they have arrived at independently to one another, while their notion of an innovative method of promoting research results is the obligatory ‘project web site’. Such sites usually offer little more than a description of the project..."

"Much of the blame for the slow adoption of the Web 2.0 technologies seemingly lies with an over-emphasis on the traditional research paper."


"The next generation of PIs is already establishing new behaviors. They feel comfortable blogging, using social media tools, and using wikis to advance their research." (Adam Bly)

"...some researchers regard blogs, wikis and other novel forms of communication as a waste of time or even dangerous."

"We found that current levels of take-up are relatively low, with 13% of respondents using such tools frequently (once a week or more), 45% using them occasionally, and 39% using them not at all."

"...few services have yet achieved the critical mass needed to achieve the positive network effects that stimulate pervasive use by particular communities."

"...a flurry of online activity that points to a new way of doing mathematics - via blogs and wikis."


  • Michael Nielsen "Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science", Princeton University Press (2011) ISBN 9780691148908

p. 176

"Science Wikis provide a single, centralized reference describing all the latest research... ...a sort of rapidly evolving, constantly updated super-textbook. ...the potential to go far beyond a textbook: it would be infinitely extensible and modifiable, capable of conveying material ranging from simple introductions of key concepts all the way up to detailed explanations of the latest research reults..."

p. 179

"Wiki-science, as promising as it might be, remains a dream"

"Developments in web 2.0 technologies have also affected

communications. While static websites and emails predated the web within particle physics, wiki pages provide a much more interactive element to their collaboration and make them more interconnected. All participants indicated that the wiki has become a mainstream way of communication

within the community."


"...advocates for “open science” say science can accomplish much more, much faster, in an environment of friction-free collaboration over the Internet. And despite a host of obstacles, including the skepticism of many established scientists, their ideas are gaining traction. "