What are we doing?
Over the last week we had been thinking about how best to define what we have been doing during these past months.
We feel it is important to develop a term for this kind of working, because we have a sense that we are doing something new, something that, to the best of our knowledge, has never been properly attempted by any organization so far.
In some respects, the MFMP is bringing a large part of how the open-source software movement is organized to how the project members and wider public work together. Indeed we are infact open sourcing tools that are integral to the project.
As the MFMP is engaged in exploratory primary science, there is more to what we are doing than just open source software in that we are producing results that need analysis, which the crowd can participate in and more that that, we are presenting them live and uncut.
Does what we are doing together have the potential to deeply change the way science is done?
That is a question to debate later on, in the meantime, we have come up with a name for this way of working: "Live Open Science" (LOS).
What does LOS mean?
This name is a declaration of intent which demands trust, it is implying that we do not cheat, we do not hide, we do not mislead the public. Everyone sees the the latest information about the evolution of the project as it happens, warts and all and we hope that this allows people to share insights as to what may be going on or how things may be improved. It also means that there is no safety net, we can’t select data that helps a particular view or theory, everything is in front of the public. Often the public are seeing things before we have a chance to and that is so exciting.
We feel that sharing the experimentation and our beliefs and hypothesis as they evolve is the best way to collect feedback on how to test and challenge assumptions and theories. It is what has been done for 100s of years but the time frame is compressed by employing the power of the internet. We are not publishing and publicising results at the conclusion of an experiment, only to then wait to take the experiment forward following a peer review process, this, to a large extent is happening daily. As has been demonstrated a number of times already, there are very competent contributors to MFMP that are pointing out potential errors, relevant research and way to challenge theory. This is leveraging the crowd in a very democratic way.
Meeting the highest standards
The process of LOS is likely to lead to a deep understanding of the science faster by getting feedback as early as possible, however at some point, we believe that we will still need to get the rapidly refined findings published as publication is still required to get the recognition and credibility for the LOS work done. The established peer review process confirms the veracity of scientific findings in a rigorous way and in doing so will play an in important role in settling the debate over the New Fire.
What do you think?
Please add any thoughts you might have below on how we can define what we are doing and how we could better the process. If someone is a great wordsmith, we would like to hone the above discussion in preparation for press release materials on the matter that we may use in our full scale social funding exercise and other media releases.