Preamble: this is a short text on Open Science, written a while ago, which I now put it here. It is taken from this place at telegra.ph. The link (not the content) appeared here at the Chemlambda for the people post. I can’t find other traces, except the empty github repository “creat”, described as “framework for research output as a living creature“.
I am a big fan of Open Science. For me, a good piece of research is one which I can Read Write eXecute.
Researchers use articles to communicate. Articles are not eXecutable. I can either Read others’ articles or Write mine. I have to trust an editor who tells me that somebody else, whom I don’t know, read the article and made a peer-review.
No. Articles are stories told by researchers about how they did the work. And since the micromanagement era, they are even less: fungible units to be used in funding applications, by the number or by the keyword.
This is so strange. I’m a mathematician and you probably know that mathematics is the most economical way to explain something clearly. Take a 10 pages research article. It contains the intensive work of many months. Now, compress the article further more by the following ridiculous algorithm: throw away everything but the first several bits. Keep only the title, the name of the journal, keywords, maybe the Abstract. That’s not science communication, that’s massive misuse of brain material.
So I’m an Open Science fan, what should I do instead of writing articles? Maybe I should push my article in public and wait after that for somebody to review it. That’s called Open Access and it’s very good for the readers. So what? the article is still only Readable or Writable, pick only one option, otherwise it’s bad practice. What about my time? It looks that I have to wait and wait for all the bosses, managers, politicians and my fellow researchers to switch to OA first.
It’s actually much easier to do Open Science, remember! something that you can Read, Write and eXecute. As an author, you don’t have to wait for the whole society to leave the old ways and to embrace the new ones. You can just push what you did: stories, programs, data, everything. Any reader can pull the content and validate it, independently. EXecute what you pushed, Read your research story and Write derivative works.
I tried this! Want to know how to build a molecular computer which is indiscernible from how we are made? Use this playground called chemlambda. It’s a made up, simple chemistry. It works like the real chemistry does, that is locally, randomly, without any externally imposed control. My bet is that chemlambda can be done in real life. Now, or in a few years.
Funny animations obtained from simulations. Those simulations can be run on your computer, so you can validate my research. Here’s what chemlambda looks like.
[Here come some examples and animations. ]
During this project I realized that it went beyond a Read Write Execute thing. What I did was to design many interesting molecules. They work by themselves, without any external control. Each molecule is like a theorem and the chemical evolution is the proof of the theorem, done by a blind, random, stupid, universal algorithm.
Therefore my Open Science attempt was to create molecules, some of them exhibiting a metabolism, some of them alive. Maybe this is the future of Open Science. To create a living organism which embodies in its metabolism the programs and research data. It’s valid if it lives, grow, reproduces, even die. Let it cross breed with other living creatures. In time the natural selection will do marvels. Life is not different than Science. Science is not different than life.