We’ve got a new cybercollaborator! This is how things happen in the world of the Blue Obelisk… The exciting thing is that anyone – with hard, careful work and the respect of their peers can become a highly valuable – and hopefully visible – member. You don’t have to be at a big institution.
I got the following mail yesterday from Beth Ritter-Guth, which she is very happy for me to post:
Dear Dr. Murray-Rust:
I am a doctoral student working on an article about Open Source Science in chemistry as it relates to rhetoric and technical communication. My theory is that tech communicators will have a new role as emerging technologies make scientific data (specifically chemical) more accessible to the general public.
Your work in automation is very interesting, as I believe this is the future of how chemical data will be shared within the chemistry community. I am also interested in how Open Source Science creates collaborative space for chemists to work for the good of the global community (Synaptic Leap and Chemists without Borders). My hope is to share these concepts with technical communicators in hopes that they (as translators) can educate the general public (or other chemists) about OSS in terms of collaboration and automation.
… can you direct me toward resources that will accurately represent OSS in chemistry? I want to make sure that I am including all of the important materials in my research. I have read articles by you and Dr. Rzepa, and I work in collaboration with Jean-Claude Bradley at Drexel. I follow a host of chem blogs, as well.
Since I am not a chemist by trade, I want to make sure that I extract the best articles in the field. I am also working in a completely open format using a wiki (http://bethritterguth.wikispaces.com ), as I truly adopt and support Open Access Scholarship.
I replied to Beth saying that there had been very little scholarship done on OS in chemistry as most people in chemistry think it’s a bunch of idealists and “student hackers”. “If it’s free it can’t be any good” and they ritually pay kilobucks/year for mediocre software.
I mailed the following:
The best place is probably the Blue Obelisk mailing list. Ask for what you want and you should get a considered set of replies. I know that Geoff Hutchison had a back-to-back article with Matt Stahl (Open Eye) taking different views. I am not sure that there are many articles other than Geoff’s. Henry and I are most vocal on Open Data rather than Open Source although of course we promote it
The main other set of OS code is comp chem which includes Abinit, GULP, MOPAC-8. They are active but not religious about OS so they won’t have written anything
Would you mind if I mentioned your request on my blog?