Proposal: Open Science

I have recently moved from being an experimental biophysicist to working on "research data services" in an academic library. For this SE site to gain broader audience, I am wondering if the topic could be tweaked, such as:

  • Open Research: to include all fields of research, not just STEM. Despite differences between, say, mechanical engineering and political science, there are many common advantages to open availability of research products. However, it's uncertain whether this would make much of an impact on the popularity of this proposal, since funding agencies in STEM are leading the push for open research.

  • Reproducible Research (or Research Reproducibility)--Open Science and Reproducibility go hand in hand. However, "reproducibility" may put the focus more clearly on the technical and development aspects as opposed to the philosophical / policy aspects. Policy questions (e.g., "is open access a public right?") may indeed belong better in academia.se. In contrast, a question such as, "is there a virtual machine hosting service that would allow me to preserve and share my workflow?" would be more appropriate outside of academia.se. That's just one example of what I envision of hundreds of "research data management / sharing / publishing" types of questions that could be asked--and for all fields, not just science.

  • You're going deep in linguistic aspects. For me, the science is what the 'Wissenschaft' is, so it includes philosophy, sociology, linguistics etc. In US, from what I know, they are often referred as 'Arts' (I associate Arts with sculpture, painting etc.). The word 'research' would suggest to me narrower scope (more STEM-like). But I'm not a native speaker. I like 'Open Science' better, because it sounds good. Jan 21, 2015 at 10:29
  • Restarted proposal: Open Science
    – kenorb
    Aug 18, 2015 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


I think "Open Research" is just as clear and meaningful as "Open Science". Both clearly describe the focus of the site and neither seems the more obvious choice than the other. I would be very happy with either of these as the site name.

"Reproducible Research" does not make it clear that that research is open (it may be reproduced by members of a variety of academic and research organisations who pay a subscription in order to access the results to be reproduced). Although reproducibility is an inherent part of open research, it is also an inherent part of closed or priviliged research, which is available to a paying scientific community, but not free to the public. I feel strongly that the site name should include the word "Open", and that the description should make clear that the site is focussed on results and papers being freely accessible to all.

  • 1
    I hear you and agree wholeheartedly about the value of freely available. However, I still wonder how many questions and answers can be developed about the "open" part--and if so, whether those questions fit in better with "academia." On the other hand, maybe those ARE the questions you'd like to see in this Q&A. I do see, now that I look again, that about half of the highly-voted example questions are policy-type questions. Given that I know see that, I would still see a slight benefit to "open research" (to include non-STEM).
    – Steve Koch
    Mar 14, 2014 at 23:56
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    I do think a lot of questions will be about the practicalities of open science - it's promotion, ethics, pitfalls, etc. On academia might this be viewed as bordering on meta? I had a look at the Open Data site and questions there seem to be not only what data is available but also how to access data, how much to trust it, pitfalls to avoid. Some of the questions are not just "I want data on X" but "what difference does it make that this data is open". In Open Science we could be discussing the pros and cons of being open, as well as finding open resources. Mar 15, 2014 at 0:12
  • I agree with @SteveKoch—to me, an advantage of "Open Research" over "Open Science" is that the former sounds friendlier to the humanities, and I'd hope that this site will be useful to those fields as well. Jan 26, 2015 at 15:25

re stem paper review that is another site proposed not yet merged with open science. still advocate merging, dont know how this can be accomplished. STEM focused was an early idea but maybe that is too narrow to achieve critical mass (although it has a natural connection to other very successful SE science sites namely stats, cstheory, cs, MO, even its heavy programming origins eg SO, programmers, etc, so expect there to be strong STEM element, but personally highly encourage this "faction" to coexist with all sciences on the site). it has 21 members & would be enough to advance the open science proposal to next stage on merging now!

think the site can work just fine as a general open science site but maybe with different science tags possibly including stem. would encourage there not too be too much attn to "correct" tags in the early days/infancy of the site & be esp open to allowing people to experiment with new tags & avoid attempting to manage scope with tags unless/until they become "problematic".

am not too concerned about the name, the more critical aspect is effectively/carefully establishing/communicating the collectively-understood scope of the site. imho a new site is a opportunity to create a scope unlike any other stackexchange and create new uses of it that would fail in other stackexchange. stackexchange questions are easily closed by mods & users.

am more interested in finding ways of communicating the scope effectively to the participants and getting them to conform & collaborate but not in narrow ways (unf think se software tends to encourage users to make se scopes a bit too narrow, and hence clamp down on legitimate but sometimes-borderline participation). users can actually override/veto the stated scope of the site through voting mechanisms. so my concern is more that the new site be flexible instead of sometimes-constricting as other se sites are.

not actually so much a fan of the idea of the reproducible-research title because isnt it redundant? reproducibility is a basic aspect of all legitimate science. (and frankly openness is a basic feature of science also, but maybe thats another topic....)

  • 1
    Agree that reproducible research doesn't have a good ring to it. ALSO agree that yes it should be redundant. The sad reality, though, is that the vast majority of published research is not actually reproducible--with "closed science" being a major factor in the irreproducibility.
    – Steve Koch
    Mar 17, 2014 at 18:04

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