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Liberate Science and Hypergraph

September 17, 2020 5:43pm

Today I talked with Chris Hartgerink (twitter) from the Liberate Science (twitter). They are working on Hypergraph - a tool and and a platform to share your research as-you-go, rather than after-the-fact (is in some ways similar to Octopus).

Chris has been working within Open Science community for over a decade. That kind of a determination and perseverance is only to be admired, and it was definitely recognized by Shuttleworth foundation by making him their fellow. Besides being a Shuttleworth fellow, his work was also supported by Mozilla.

He's written about the problems in academia in his PhD dissertation "Contributions towards understanding and building sustainable science". To me, one of the more notable things to me was his summary about the five functions which a scholarly communication system is supposed to serve:

  1. registration
  2. certification
  3. awareness
  4. archival
  5. incentives

Chris' big conclusions was that in order to do science well, science needs to be done and reported as-you-go. Current after-the-fact style of publication is simply too prone to exploitation, because it allows for authors to adjust results, or alter their hypothesis, or both, or anything inbetween, in order to produce an "interesting" (i.e. shocking) publication that will likely have more citations. That kind of practice is not a good science, and is one of the things that Chris is aiming to fix.

Chris was very open to discussing state of the academia and what approach they took with Liberate Science. We agreed on the lack of incentives within the academia to radically alter things, and so his approach, as well as mine, was to go outside of it then (obvious were a fewer options that exist for funding when that path is taken). He also demoed Hypergraph to me, and I walked him through Unfold Research's mockup, and we exchanged feedbacks. It was again interesting how our main concerns and the problems that we were most exposed to dictate our primary focus in delivering solutions to some of those - his with timely reporting in research, and mine with discovery and filtering of the content.

Big thanks to Chris for taking the time to discuss things! Hypergraph is currently undergoing its beta launch, so make sure to check it out, sign up and perhaps try it out for yourself, and if you are interested in Open Science, follow Chris through Liberate Science, or directly.