Going beyond a single scientific journal or scientific community

Reading scientific journals on a kindle of course
Image by Rain Rabbit via Flickr

I’ve written previously about an utopian idea of having one scientific journal and one scientific community. And while it’s hard to expect this vision comes true anytime soon, surprisingly we are getting closer to it day by day. Sciverse is currently excited about NPG launching new journal called Scientific Reports, which resembles PLoS ONE so much it was already called Nature ONE. One more journal doesn’t sound like a step in good direction, but given that PLoS ONE became in 2010 the largest scientific journal (or very close to it), SR is surely going to attract large chunk of manuscripts, that could be published elsewhere. That hopefully will at least limit an astonishing number of newly created journals (Wiley’s blog says it’s around 400-500 a year).

Anyway, what I’m currently interested in is more about going beyond “scientific” whatever. In spare time I try to help in shaping structure of a new educational ecosystem (whatever it means, details will follow in a few months) and I’ve realized that some of its solutions are extremely close to citizen science, some other resemble open notebook science, while some other are borrowed from Maker Faire community. The other thing is that online science things (like blogs, social networking, wikis and others) are in fact kind of science outreach or science journalism. Open data movement is balancing between two aspects: open data for more efficient research and open data for more transparent government (the latter includes setting up policies concerning important topics like health, food safety or pollution, which require strong and transparent evidence). And if I remember correctly, discussions about assessing impact of science spending start to revolve about measuring social aspects too, in the same manner as spending for culture is assessed (cannot find an example at the moment).

So, summarizing: direction science is currently taking, is surprisingly well connected to areas outside of science. And it’s for me quite interesting to observe how compartmentalization is in some areas slowly vanishing. Are we going to see the world organized by tags?