open science, closed science: a continuum

The following chart shows where traditional science and scientific publishing as well as the newer open movements fall along the continuum that lies between closed and open science. This chart is derived from a similar picture presented by JC Bradley of Drexel University at the 2007 American Chemical Society Symposium on Communicating Chemistry. Bradley’s version of this chart did not include “open research” or “open resources”; I added these at what I think are appropriate positions. My reasoning is described below.


open science, closed science: a continuum

The traditional unpublished lab book is the epitome of closed science (Bradley). Not only are methods and data hidden from view, but also the results themselves are private. One step up from that is to make those results (and methods, too, if things are done properly) available in a traditional journal. Still, however, we do not have access to the data and we may have to pay to access the results. Enter the open access journal or repository, where we can freely access the findings regardless of our affiliations. Open data, another step along, allows us to scrutinize and reuse the data that underlie the findings. And finally, in open research, which includes open peer review and open notebook science, we do not have to wait for the published article, but can see what the researcher is working on before the work is complete and the results are published. And we can participate in the process if we so choose.

I place the notion of “open resources” outside of the continuum because while this approach is important for the practice of science, and while it represents similar values to the other open movements described here, it is not as essential for access to, or evaluation and reuse of, scientific results by the community at large.

Read more:



Bradley, J. C. (2007). Open notebook science using blogs and wikis. Nature Precedings for the American Chemical Society Symposium on Communicating Chemistry. Web.



5 thoughts on “open science, closed science: a continuum

  1. Pingback: closed science | minimum in cursive

  2. Pingback: open science | minimum in cursive

  3. Pingback: open science: open access | minimum in cursive

  4. Pingback: open science: open data | minimum in cursive

  5. Pingback: open science: open platform | minimum in cursive

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