This is an article I enjoyed, sharing the story of Tim Gowers to run an experiment in a way that his PLN could help him solve. Although the article states that “most such wikis have failed,” the idea of solving problems completely in the open is appealing!
What do you think of the “open sharing of knowledge?” Good or bad? Share your thoughts in the comments!
- The New Einsteins Will Be Scientists Who Share From cancer to cosmology, researchers could race ahead by working together—online and in the open
- In January 2009, a mathematician at Cambridge University named Tim Gowers decided to use his blog to run an unusual social experiment. He picked out a difficult mathematical problem and tried to solve it completely in the open, using his blog to post ideas and partial progress.
- The discussion ignited, and in just six weeks, the mathematical problem had been solved.
- they have pioneered a new approach to problem-solving. Their work is an example of the experiments in networked science that are now being done to study everything from galaxies to dinosaurs.
- These projects use online tools as cognitive tools to amplify our collective intelligence. The tools are a way of connecting the right people to the right problems at the right time, activating what would otherwise be latent expertise.
- Ventures such as the Polymath Project remain the exception, not the rule.
- If you’re a scientist applying for a job or a grant, the biggest factor determining your success will be your record of scientific publications. If that record is stellar, you’ll do well. If not, you’ll have a problem. So you devote your working hours to tasks that will lead to papers in scientific journals.
- Consider, for example, the open scientific wikis launched by a few brave pioneers in fields like quantum computing, string theory and genetics (a wiki allows the sharing and collaborative editing of an interlinked body of information, the best-known example being Wikipedia). Specialized wikis could serve as up-to-date reference works on the latest research in a field, like rapidly evolving super-textbooks. They could include descriptions of major unsolved scientific problems and serve as a tool to find solutions.
- most such wikis have failed.
- We have to overthrow the idea that it’s a diversion from “real” work when scientists conduct high-quality research in the open.
- we must first choose to create a scientific culture that embraces the open sharing of knowledge.
- Mr. Nielsen is a pioneer in the field of quantum computing and the author of “Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science,” from which this is adapted.