As researcher Rachel Harding works away in her Toronto lab, sheأش breaking scientific ground with more than just her discoveries.
Sheأش publishing her lab notes and data online along with blogging about her work in lay language at labscribbles.com. Sheأش believed to be the first biomedical researcher to open access to work in real time rather than waiting for experiments to be completed or their results published.
When other researchers see whatأش sheأش doing, they can choose to build on it, use it to inspire their own work or simply take note to avoid duplication.
إ°ne of the biggest problems in the way academic science is done is everyone is kind of sitting in their own corner, not really talking too much to each and not sharing with everything,? said Harding, whoأش researching the huntingtin protein, which is linked to the cognitive and physical decline of Huntingtonأش disease.
إ¦verything is being duplicated, and itأش the person who gets to the one point where they can publish first who gets the glory.?
The movement toward open access to scientific data movement is meant to create collaboration among researchers around the world and speed up discoveries. But, openness isnأص the norm in the world of academic research. Thatأش because the money thatأش needed to sustain the work is often tied to making big discoveries instead of the incremental breakthroughs those discoveries are built upon, Harding said.
إµhe biggest risk about being open from the beginning is someone can come in, see what youأ×e done, leave out all the experiments that didnأص workحطhich obviously, is going to happenحآnd they can reach then end goal more quickly than you, scooping you on your own work,? Harding said.
إ£ut the goal here is that it isnأص a super competitive thing and we work as a community rather than out-compete each other.?