Opening Science: The evolving guide on how the Internet is changing research, collaboration and scholarly publishing.


Benedikt-Fecher1-300x285sonkesaschaOpen research practices seek to make scientific practice more efficient and accessible. A new book offers an overview of the Open Science landscape. Benedikt Fecher, Sönke Bartling, Sascha Friesike outline why ‘research on research’ is necessary and also demonstrate how to contribute to the collection via GitHub.

A cultural shift in how science can be done is under way as a result of the rapid dissemination of the Internet in almost every sector of day-to-day reality. There is a new approach towards knowledge creation and dissemination called Open Science. One could see it as an umbrella term for a movement that advocates the sustainable use of modern communication technology for a more transparent, accessible and collaborative scientific culture.

In an effort to portray the current Open Science discourse, we collected 26 contributions from scholars working in the realms of Open Science and Science 2.0 for the collection ‘Opening Science: The Evolving Guide on How the Internet is Changing Research, Collaboration and Scholarly Publishing’. The book is divided into four guiding sections, being Basics and Backgrounds, Tools, Visions as well as Cases, Recipes and How-tos. Among other topics, the sections feature contributions on Open Science communication, novel measures for scientific impact, dynamic publication formats and intellectual property rights, all providing insights into a multi-faceted field that will keep researchers, policy makers and coders in the academic sphere busy for a long time.

Altogether the chapters serve to establish a common understanding of what are current changes in research and science, how online tools and software applications support and add to a researcher’s daily routine, and a vision blueprint for a scientific system in the digital age.

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Image credit: Opensourceway (CC BY-SA)

Open Science has the potential to make knowledge creation more efficient and accessible. Our book aims at anticipating the current changes in the scientific practice and offering an initial overview of the various fields touched by this changing scientific environment. We believe that further ‘research on research’ is necessary, in order to make informed decisions on a topic with a potentially huge societal impact. That particularly applies to novel publication systems, collaboration, impact measurements, and research funding.

Not without reason, the book is called an evolving guide. Not a single text is meant to be set in stone. Ideally the book and its contents evolve over time and continuously offer an up-to-date snapshot of how the Internet changes research, collaboration and scholarly publishing. Feel free to edit parts wherever you think it is necessary and add parts where you think it lacks something. We are also looking forward to receive suggestions for new chapters, as said we strongly believe that the topic will increase in importance and soon will reach a wider audience. Feel free to contact the editors for ideas or simply leave a comment after a chapter you have read online.

How to Contribute

The entire book is readable online as it is published under a CC-BY licence. Aside from that there is an editable version on GitHub which can be found here. Anyone can read, comment, and edit the book.

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Figure: Homepage of the editable book

To edit the book, you have to follow a simple two-step process:

Step 1: Login to GitHub

As the book is hosted on GitHub anyone editing it will need a GitHub account to be able to save changes. Simply go to and sign up for a free account. And stay logged in while you edit the book.

Step 2: Send an edit request

Once you are logged into GitHub you are free to edit and comment the book. Go to the chapter you want to edit and click on “Send Edit Request”. This will open a content editor called The entire book is set in a version of Markdown (those unfamiliar with the Markdown syntax can find an introduction here). Once you edited the book you can click the save button on the right and your changes will be submitted to the editors.


Figure: Editor of the book

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About the Authors

Benedikt Fecher of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), is a doctoral researcher at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. The focus of his dissertation is the participation in Open Science Projects.

Sönke Bartling is the head of a work group in personalized, interventional oncotherapy, a researcher on medical imaging sciences (CT/X-ray) at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and a board certified radiologist at the University Medical Center in Mannheim, both in Germany.

Dr. Sascha Friesike is a Postdoc at the Humboldt Insitute for Internet and Society in the research area internet-enabled innovation. He holds a PhD in Technology and Innovation Management from the University of St. Gallen. Before he studied engineering economics at the TU Berlin.