Nature Precedings Rocks
Following up on my initial comments, my first two posts in Nature Precedings have appeared.
Most people have been posting Powerpoint presentations so I started there with a recent presentation at the American Chemical Society about Open Notebook Science.
Open Notebook Science Using Blogs and Wikis (doi:10.1038/npre.2007.39.1)
Next, I posted an update on the CombiUgi project by basically combining two blog posts (one and two).
It took a lot longer to do this than I expected, experimenting with the format and trying to make it fairly self-contained. I ended up using Powerpoint, which I like for its modular nature and flexibility with image-rich materials. For example, it is easy to spin off as a SlideShare document (which I just noticed supports hyperlinks while embedded - nice!).
There are a few reasons I think Precedings will be one of the key breakthrough apps for Open Science.
1) Nature Publishing Group brings a serious amount of credibility to the table. That is going to make it much easier to convince people in mainstream scientific circles to contribute and read.
2) Flexibility of format: although files must currently be submitted as Powerpoint, Word or PDF file types, the organization of the information within these files is fairly open. The "article" format is not currently required. Although there is no peer review requirement, there is definitely editorial control (which I experienced as I was asked to rewrite my first abstract). They want to make sure that submissions are genuine scientific communications.
3) Referenceability: each accepted submission gets a DOI and clear citation instructions.
4) A convenient system for acknowledging collaborators as co-authors, including affiliation info.
5) Web 2.0 bells and whistles: tags, comments, RSS feeds, etc.
6) The price is right - free read/write.
7) Creative Commons License - Non-Commercial Use with Attribution.
What they do not yet accept are large data files but it looks like that is coming down the road.