Another note on terminology.

In a comment on one of my 3QuarksDaily columns about Open Access/Open Science, Matthias Röder points out that there are more kinds of research than scientific:

One thing that might be worth thinking about is the fact that Open Science is a term that excludes many projects in the humanities and social sciences. I think Open Research might be a good alternative.

By way of illustration he points to a wikipedia entry on Open Research, which in turn points to a number of Open projects, including SCRIBE, with which Matthias is involved:

  1. SCRIBE is an open and peer-reviewed database with information on music copyists and samples of their handwriting.
  2. SCRIBE is a software tool for searching music manuscripts by handwriting characteristics.

He’s got a point. I don’t mean to be exclusionary, and am happy to accept Open Research as an umbrella term, a higher level taxon of which Open Science and Open Anything Else are subgroups.
That said, there’s also no reason not to use the phylum name when you don’t mean to speak for the entire kingdom. I don’t know much about research outside of science; I’ve posted a little about it, but haven’t looked into it with nearly the obsessive care with which I follow developments in Open Science. I’m a scientist; my focus is on science.
I’m happy to learn about efforts towards openness in other fields, of course, but I hope no one is surprised or offended to hear that I’ll be thinking “how can we use this for science?” the whole time. So for now, I will continue to talk about “Open Science”, and I hope that researchers from other fields will not feel excluded but will instead simply look to see whether anything I’m saying is of use in Open Whatever-It-Is-That-They-Do.

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