Where the scientific mind is without fear (Totally Retrosynthetic)

This is the title of Totally Restrosynthetic’s lastest post Where the scientific mind is without fear.

The post of Peter Murray-Rust about my totallyretrosynthetic blog made me to do this post though I have been very busy lately. (I am wrapping up of my work before I say good bye to the 3 years tenure here, writing three manuscripts, searching for a new position and processing of my GC-everything with September, the last month in the current lab, upon me.)I just thought of updating you all with the bitter out come of my latest experimentation with semi-open science before it is too late. My experience with it often reminded me the prayer from Gitanjali written by Rabindranath Tagore [Indian poet, philosopher, and Nobel laureate] which has been slightly modified here to echo my feelings.
Where the scientific mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where scientific knowledge is free;
Where the scientific world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow boundaries;
Where the results come out from the depth of true experimentation;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the scientific mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my scientific world awake.Many people contacted me for the login details for it, [PMR: this is the idea of doing collaborative synthetic chemistry across the globe] but only a few were ready to reveal their real details. I understand their curiosity but I did not get their intentions of not revealing their true identity. Though I have shared the idea with many of them, I have learned and have been cautioned by fellow bloggers that the ideas are more at risk to plagiarism in the semi-open access since the ideas are no longer public, they are not indexed by search engines and people in the blogosphere will not know the details. By giving out selective access to people we could be making it easier for them to copy the things without being found out. So, I am glad that I got to learn the reality of the world. I sincerely hope that it is only a small fraction of our field and as Chembark points out there are many more things to love the chemistry as such; I must also tell you that I did have luck in finding some body that is willing to put the idea in to the flask i.e., the underlying objective has been served and as soon as we get some ground work done for the same, we will be updating here; you can be part of the excitement and anguish of the total synthesis.
As Peter Murray-Rust has highlighted very clearly, we need more support and we have miles to go before we sleep. This is just a first step towards it.

Whatever you do is going to be a long hard road. Few people will be immediately receptive to new ideas – especially in chemistry which is one of the most conservative subjects in science – witness resistance to Open Access. You have to get used to people ignoring you. You need to have your ideas carefully thought out and logically compelling and a clear plan of action – woolly ideas won’t survive.
As to how you get it off the ground – closed discussions or open Web – you will have to decide. Many collaborative Open Source activities occur as a result of work already going on over the Internet. If you publish Openly – and particularly if you save it on a stable site – e.g. an Institutional Repository – the scientific record will be there. But you may make it difficult to publish in conventional journals – and that’s a decision you have to take. The future may have different models of publication – I hope it has – but we haven’t seen many yet – they are mainly based on existing publishers and their models.

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