Open Science is Research Accelerator

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* Article: Open science is a research accelerator. By Michael Woelfle, Piero Olliaro & Matthew H. Todd. Nature Chemistry 3, 745–748 (2011)



"An open-source approach to the problem of producing an off-patent drug in enantiopure form serves as an example of how academic and industrial researchers can join forces to make new scientific discoveries that could have a huge impact on human health." (


"The crucial message of the open project is this: the research was accelerated by being open. Experts identified themselves, and spontaneously contributed based on what was being posted online. The research therefore inevitably proceeded faster than if we had attempted to contact people in our limited professional circle individually, in series. Perhaps this is not surprising, but if it is the case that 'none of us is as smart as all of us' and if we wish to reach scientific goals quickly, why is so much science not practised this way?

Besides speed, there are several other advantages of conducting science in the open. The process is transparent, meaning the public can be assured that funding for science, arising from their taxes, is being used responsibly and there is no suggestion of political interference in the scientific process44. Secondly, in open projects everything is available on the web; the project need not cease with the graduation of students, the termination of a grant or the demise of a principle investigator. Funding for the kernel effort of such a project, crucial in generating activity to which others may respond, can leverage extra input that is unfunded, and this should be attractive for funding agencies keen to maximize the impact of the relevant science. Open science is subject to the most rigorous peer review because the review process never ends, essentially because there will always be a commenting function on results, and a mechanism for the community to police those comments. The results of open science, freely available on the web, can still be published in pre-publication peer-reviewed journals that accept work that has previously been made public, because this serves as an important mechanism to summarize the research for future participants, and to reward those who have contributed with authorship along a traditional model." (