Open laboratory notebooks: good for science, good for society, good for scientists

Authors : Matthieu Schapira, The Open Lab Notebook Consortium, Rachel J. Harding

The fundamental goal of the growing open science movement is to increase the efficiency of the global scientific community and accelerate progress and discoveries for the common good. Central to this principle is the rapid disclosure of research outputs in open-access peer-reviewed journals and on pre-print servers.

The next bold step in this direction is open laboratory notebooks, where research scientists share their research — including detailed protocols, negative and positive results — online and in near-real-time to synergize with their peers. Here, we highlight the benefits of open lab notebooks to science, society and scientists, and discuss the challenges that this nascent movement is facing.

We also present the implementation and progress of our own initiative at, with more than 20 active contributors after one year of operation.

URL : Open laboratory notebooks: good for science, good for society, good for scientists


Open notebook science as an emerging epistemic culture within the Open Science movement

Authors : Anne Clinio, Sarita Albagli

The paper addresses the concepts and practices of “open notebook science” (Bradley, 2006) as an innovation within the contemporary Open Science movement. Our research points out that open notebook science is not an incremental improvement, but it is a new “literary technology” (Shapin, Shaffer, 1985) and main element of a complex open collaboration ecosystem that fosters a new epistemic culture (Knorr-Cetina, 1999).

This innovation aimed to move from a “science based on trust” to a science based on transparency and data provenance – a shift that recognizes the ability of scientists in performing experiments, but mostly, values their capacity of documenting properly what they say they have done. The theoretical framework was built with the notion of epistemic culture (Knorr-Cetina, 1999) and the “three technologies” perspective used by Shapin and Shaffer (1985) to describe the construction by natural philosophers of “matter of fact” as “variety of knowledge” so powerful that became synonymous of science itself.

Empirically, we entered the “open lab” through a netnography that led us to understand that the epistemic culture being engendered by its practitioners is based on a “matter of proof”.