Open source science

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Welcome to the Wikiversity Open Source Science Project.

Project description

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The Open Source Science Project is a Wikiversity content development project. The goal of this project is to document existing sources of open content science. The term "open source" originated in the context of "open source software"[1]. The term "open source science" is used as scientific approaches, that used open source software to create the scientific results with application of open source software. Furthermore is addresses the impact of using open source for transparent versioning of source code e.g. for the applied methodology and its optimization of the code according to improvements of the methodology. The application of the source on data can be performed in several different ways. In some cases, also the data is open data and other scientist can reproduce the scientific results with the available "open source" software. On a second level Open Source Science is used to refer to science-related resources that are available under a free content license (example). The terms Open access and open content is also used. Examples of open content science projects are Science Commons and Public Library of Science (see also Green Open Access). For reproducibility of scientific results the following aspects are addressed with Open Source Science:

  • Open Source Software - for implementation of scientific methods
  • Open Data[2] - for feeding the algorithms in Open Source software with the data
  • Open Educational Resources[3] - for teaching scientist to learn and apply the methods on data

Department news

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  • 3 November 2006 - Project founded!

Learning Task

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  • Explore the concept of the Open Source Software KnitR and explain why the software support the development of dynamic scientific documents that evaluated a constant in stream of data.
  • Explain why Open Source Science is a valuable approach to combine Open Educational Resources, Open Source and Open Data as a learning environment for Reproducible Science.
  • Discuss the options for scientist, to use Open Source software (e.g. statistical software, numerical software, GIS, ...) to
    • apply a methodology in one paper with the available open source code to other data and adapt the code to the new requirements and constraints of their own project,
    • apply the same methodology with after a bugfix of the source code to the same data check if the same results remain the same or if the bugfix result into a different conclusions for the scientfic analysis,
    • add more data to the open data set and check with the available source code for the analysis if the analysis is true with the larger data set.

Learning materials and learning projects are located in the main Wikiversity namespace. Simply make a link to the name of the lesson (lessons are independent pages in the main namespace) and start writing!

You should also read about the Wikiversity:Learning model. Lessons should center on learning activities for Wikiversity participants. Learning materials and learning projects can be used by multiple projects. Cooperate with other departments that use the same learning resource.


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Each activity has a suggested associated background reading selection.


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  1. Von Hippel, E. (2001). Learning from open-source software. MIT Sloan management review, 42(4), 82-86.
  2. Murray-Rust, P. (2008). Open data in science. Nature Precedings, 1-1.
  3. Johnstone, S. M. (2005). Open educational resources serve the world. Educause Quarterly, 28(3), 15.

Active participants

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Active participants in this Learning Group The histories of Wikiversity pages indicate who the active participants are.

See also

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