NSF proposal: Crowdsourcing Chemistry and Modeling using Open Notebook Science
On December 8, 2008 I submitted the pre-proposal "Crowdsourcing Chemistry and Modeling using Open Notebook Science" with Rajarshi Guha and Antony Williams to the NSF CDI program.
Last year we submitted to the same initiative and the reviewer comments were positive for the most part. The main criticism was the lack of a more fully developed computational component. I think we've addressed that this year by including Rajarshi and his plans to carry out modeling of the non-aqueous solubility data and Ugi reaction optimization.
We also have the ONS Challenge in place and the sponsorship by Submeta, Nature and Sigma-Aldrich should help.
I posted the PDF version of the proposal on Scribd, linked to it from Noam Harel's SCIEnCE wiki and put up a text version on the ONSC wiki. In some ways proposals can be more important than papers to connect up collaborators and gain an appreciation of where science is headed. Ironically the only people to see proposals (the reviewers) are typically a research group's closest competitors. So making them public makes sense. It could also help funding agencies connect up with researchers.
I think it would be helpful to have a Web2.0 database of research proposals. The SCIEnCE project aims to do this but doesn't currently have a structured interface. I created a "Research Proposal" group on Scribd that is open for anyone to drop in proposals. That gives us the standard Web2.0 functionalities like commenting, visitor count, favorites, etc. One of the most convenient features of this strategy is that it provides an RSS feed for new submissions. I've added this feed to my FriendFeed account.