Friday, July 10, 2009

Spectral Game paper live on the Journal of Cheminformatics

Our paper on the Spectral Game is now published:
Jean-Claude Bradley, Robert J Lancashire, Andrew SID Lang and Antony J Williams The Spectral Game: leveraging Open Data and crowdsourcing for education Journal of Cheminformatics 2009, 1:9 doi:10.1186/1758-2946-1-9
This has been an especially gratifying collaboration because of the enthusiasm and vision of my co-authors. The philosophy behind the game is deeply rooted in openness and as a result it is an open ended evolving project. Any new NMR spectra uploaded to ChemSpider and marked as Open Data will continue to be automatically incorporated into the pool of problems. Teachers and students from around the world can play the game and flag problems or errors as they arise. This blurs the line between content creators and consumers and I think reflects a powerful trend that is occurring in education.

Another aspect of openness relating to this endeavor is the communication of our progress. Our paper was written on a public wiki. Not only were we able to discuss our progress on recorded talks and blog posts, but we were also able to cite these as regular references in the paper. And of course the Journal of Cheminformatics is itself an Open Access peer-reviewed publication so there is no limitation to sharing the final product.

Controversy still rages in the blogosphere about the wisdom of blogging research results prior to publication in peer-reviewed journals. It is true that this practice limits where articles can be submitted. Since many of our references are from the Journal of Chemical Education, we contacted the editors to see if they would accept our paper. Unfortunately their current pre-print policy did not allow them to do so.

If more authors begin to see the value of early disclosure it may just start to tip the balance towards journals such as the Journal of Cheminformatics.

Andrew Lang and I have just completed another paper on Chemistry in Second Life - written in the same way - that one just got submitted to Chemistry Central Journal.

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