Proposal: Open Science

There are a number of open science and open access questions already on academia.edu. Perhaps an easy way to get these kinds of questions answered is to ask them there. Granted, not all scientists are academics, but scientific research outside of academia often is not intended to be open anyway.

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    "scientific research outside of academia often is not intended to be open." Actually, a truly vast amount of research and data is done by governments, much of which is intended to be open (and the proportion of open/total seems to be increasing).
    – TomRoche
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 17:27
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    it has to do with communication of the goals to existing academia mods and users of that site and somewhat expanding their charter. this is easier said than done but it certainly helps academia is not a large/"hardbaked" site yet & doesnt have a high amt of activity & is still in beta. suggest some meta discussion on academia be initiated to point to this proposal. also if the open science group does not achieve critical mass can the sample questions be migrated from area51 to academia? a good fallback option... experiment: ask same highrated open science question there & see what happens.
    – vzn
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 16:47
  • From what I know Academia is very US-centric and grade-centric, I'm afraid they wouldn't make a warm welcome for questions from 'amateur' (non-graded) researchers, especially outside the US-culture circle. Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 10:25
  • There are many non-academic scientists working on opening science. Some questions would be related to these efforts - mine will be, certainly. I am uncertain whether these questions would fit academia.SE. Perhaps if the mods and users are open to them, then it would be a good fit.
    – ACS
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 14:49
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    Restarted proposal: Open Science
    – kenorb
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


IMHO they should.

They are already questions tagged open-access and open science, which are warmly welcomed.

Also, some of questions from Open Science may fit OpenData.SE.

I don't see a question that is a valid SE-question and does not fit any of above.


In short: it's an attempt to mobilize the "supply side" even more. Let's see if OpenScience.SE has the critical mass to live on its own. If not, moving to Academia.SE is definitely the best fallback option.

Also, sorry for replying with a considerable delay, I wanted to turn that issue over in my head a bit before writing down an answer. Here's my reasoning:

Assertion #1: A Q&A site with Open Science topics is valuable.

While wikis, fora, mailing lists, Google+ communities, Facebook pages, etc. devoted to Open Science all have their merits, an open Q&A site is beneficial as well. For one thing, SEO: Q&A sites work well with search engines. When a Google/Bing/Yahoo! user looks for an answer to a particular question, their query is likely to resemble the corresponding question on a Q&A site (same keywords at least, if not grammar). Also, a Q&A site focuses on solving particular problems and invites/encourages the general public to interact.

Assertion #2: A Q&A site devoted solely to Open Science will have a more committed "supply side".

Open Science community is more likely to be even more committed to building "their" ("our") site than to contributing to a broader-scope site like Wikipedia, or Quora, or even Academia.SE. Note: I truly appreciate the contributions of the community to the sites mentioned above, that's why I wrote "even more". Also, visitors interested in Open Science will be more likely to explore OpenScience.SE rather than a more general site.

Problem: Lack of critical mass, fragmentation.

I understand the points raised by Piotr, by @vzn in another thread, and others through mailing lists. It is important to have a strong community and avoid fragmentation. There is indeed an overlap with Academia.SE and OpenData.SE. OpenScience.SE will only make sense if it is big enough (in terms of questions+answers, active contributors, traffic). Otherwise, it should merge into something bigger, in my opinion Academia.SE is the best fallback option.

Given the energy and the enthusiasm of the Open Science community ("supply") and increasing popularity of the topic ("demand"), I strongly believe OpenScience.SE has a potential to grow to a size comparable to Academia.SE or OpenData.SE.

Even if the proposal fails at some stage, we will be able to migrate our work so far to Academia.SE, and perhaps some of the contributors, who wouldn't have responded to a "let's work on the [open-science] tag on Academia.SE" call, will be hooked on the SE model by now and they will join Academia.SE.


Let's leverage the momentum to build OpenScience.SE. If we fail, let's merge into Academia.SE.

  • This sounds perfect. The site will only be created if it attains a critical mass, but even if it doesn't the energy waiting to be poured into it will not be dissipated but poured into a larger site. Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 22:56
  • sounds good to me but alas am not aware of any questions being migrated out of area51 to other sites when a proposal is killed... anyone else ever seen that? precedent? maybe mods would know about this.... guess maybe have seen a cs.se mod do this with another area51 site, hard to recall....
    – vzn
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 16:56
  • I doubt the questions could be migrated as they are restricted to title length and are not intended as real questions, just examples for establishing scope. However, the followers can be redirected to similar sites so that their input can be useful there. Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 21:24
  • just re-ask the good ones on academia.se
    – jiggunjer
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 19:21

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