My friend and mathematical biologists Edward Flach is experimenting with a new way to communicate scientific results via blogs. Or at least this seems quite new to me. But the Internet (or the blogsphere) is a big scary place so I might be mistaken.
So what’s the idea? Instead of submitting a paper to a journal he makes the results available to anybody on a dedicated blog. Nothing new you might think but here is the deal: he creates a blog for each paper and each post represents a different section of the paper. For starters Edward has made public a model he developed with Sandy Anderson (and based on conversations with melanoma biologist Keiran Smalley) at the Moffitt Cancer Center.
Anybody can coment on a different part of the paper on the different section of the blog and, if Edward agrees, that section can be updated and reflect the suggestions from reviewers. The paper is not a finished product but a living document that reflects the history of the scientific process that led to it.
Ideally, one would start the blog at the beginning of the project so the scientist could describe the evolution of the project as it happens but that might take a bit more of time for people to get around that idea.
Exciting times for open science although so far many of the leaders are those that do not fear for their academic future.