This notebook is primarily a tool for me to do science and (why not?) to communicate it. Nevertheless, it is not written for a general audience, but to myself and maybe any collaborators. I write with hope my entries will be intelligible to my future self.
Depending on the evolution of my usage of this notebook, I will also post ideas, literature references, code and graphs pertaining to the research projects I am working on.
Why an electronic notebook?
Electronic lab notebooks have been around for a while in many different forms. They provide numerous advantages over conventional ones such as easier and faster search, copying and everlasting backup, direct incorporation of data electronic data, and most importantly, they support collaborative work and allow sharing of data to a much wider audience, to the immediate benefit of collaborators.
Why an open notebook?
“Science is broadly understood as collecting, analysing, publishing, reanalyzing, critiquing, and reusing data”. The Open Science movement proposes that barriers that make broad dissemination of scientific data difficult should be abolished in order to improve reproducibility of scientific results and use of information by anyone willing to. These barriers include for example paywalls and restricions on use imposed by research publishers, or proprietary closed-source software.
An open lab notebook allows raw and processed data to be available as it is produced, allowing transparency and access to failed experiments and negative or less significant results that would be otherwise unpublished.
In fact, this notebook is open in two senses:
- The content is accessible and can be remixed and shared by anyone (upon attribution);
- Its code is open source and is available to anyone, ready to use or to continue developing it as their own.
Public exposure can nonetheless be a hurdle, but I hope that with time, generalization of the concept will start removing the barriers.