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Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science Hardcover – October 23, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691148902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691148908
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

In Reinventing Discovery, Michael Nielsen introduces us to the new world of the modern scientist, where the Web is amplifying communication and accelerating discovery in unexpected ways, making for extraordinary problem solving. This is a unique and valuable book. -- Victoria Stodden, Columbia University

From the Inside Flap

"[Reinventing Discovery] opens with a fantastic account of what we can learn about the future of science from explorations such as the Polymath Project and 'the greatest chess game in history,' Kasparov vs. the World. But what really distinguishes it is its nuanced, intelligent descriptions of just how these projects work, noticing what is important about them in a way that few popular summaries do. . . . Highly recommended!"--Tim O'Reilly, Founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media

"Anyone who has followed science in recent years has noticed something odd: science is less and less about a solitary scientist working alone in a lab. Scientists are working in networks, and those networks are gaining scope, speed, and power through the internet. Nonscientists have been getting in on the act, too, folding proteins and identifying galaxies. Michael Nielsen has been watching these developments too, but he's done much more: he's provided the best synthesis I've seen of this new kind of science, and he's also thought deeply about what it means for the future of how we understand the world. Reinventing Discovery is a delightfully written, thought-provoking book."--Carl Zimmer, author of A Planet of Viruses and The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution

"This is the book on how networks will drive a revolution in scientific discovery; definitely recommended."--Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation

"Science has always been a contact sport; the interaction of many minds is the engine of the discipline. Michael Nielsen has given us an unparalleled account of how new tools for collaboration are transforming scientific practice. Reinventing Discovery doesn't just help us understand how the sciences are changing, it shows us how we can participate in the change."--Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus

"This wonderful book is a pleasure to read. Michael Nielsen writes in an authoritative yet clear, concise, and accessible style, making an informative and compelling case for open, networked science and how to achieve it."--William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute

"In Reinventing Discovery, Michael Nielsen introduces us to the new world of the modern scientist, where the Web is amplifying communication and accelerating discovery in unexpected ways, making for extraordinary problem solving. This is a unique and valuable book."--Victoria Stodden, Columbia University


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Customer Reviews

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Nielsen has written an important and very engaging book.
Nick Drengenberg
So, before reading this book I didn't necessarily expect to learn much or certainly to be further convinced of the possibility of transforming science in this new era.
Steven J. Koch
This book outlines the background to the open data and open access policies in scholarly publishing.
Janette Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Steven J. Koch on October 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read Nielsen's new book cover to cover on my flights to / from an Open Access Week event in Tucson this week and I give it my strongest recommendation for a pleasurable read about a crucial topic. I am a scientist and my students and I practice open science as much as possible--open notebook science, open protocols, open data, open proposals, etc. I have also seen the author, Michael Nielsen speak a couple times, and I have read many of his blog posts. So, before reading this book I didn't necessarily expect to learn much or certainly to be further convinced of the possibility of transforming science in this new era. From the moment I started reading, though, I was captivated. Many of the stories were not new to me (such as Galaxy Zoo or the polymath project), but I hadn't heard them in such detail before and I enjoyed learning a lot more about those successful crowd- or citizen-science projects. There were also many success and failure stories in open or collaborative science that I hadn't known about, such as the Microsoft-sponsored "Kasparov versus the world" chess event, or the research into how small groups can make bad decisions if the collaborative conditions aren't set up correctly. I learned a lot from these new stories, and remained captivated throughout.

In any of the topics that I am deeply familiar with, such as the current reward system for academic scientists (peer-reviewed publications are gold), I can say that Nielsen is spot-on and insightful. He ties together well all of the stories and descriptions of the scientific process and by the end, I think he's done a great job of convincing us all of his main point: We have a tremendous opportunity to transform and multiply the power of scientific research in the coming decades.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Gholson Lyon on October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read many books purchased at Amazon, but I have never written or submitted a review on any of them. This is the first book that I felt compelled on some level to comment on, as it really is the best manifesto for open science that I have read to date.

A "data web" or Wikipedia of science is a great idea. You cannot abolish journals in the next 10-20 years, given money and self-preservation issues for these journals. And, peer review is currently necessary to prevent bad apes from publishing crappy or fraudulent science, although maybe being able to comment and vote papers up or down Amazon-like could be made to work, as discussed in a recent blog by Joe Pickrell in regards to "Why publish science in peer-reviewed journals".

For now, it is a good idea to publish papers in Open Access journals which have a policy of publishing sound science with less emphasis on subjective measurements of importance. This way, anyone anywhere can read your paper and give you feedback and improve the overall project, so that your paper becomes an evolving piece of work. A scientific paper can and should be changed in Wikipedia style, with dated entries for changes made, so that the paper grows and changes with time. There are a couple of relatively new open access journals that could maybe support such a format, including Discovery Medicine and the Frontiers series of open-access journals.

I also think that scientists should deposit all data, analyses and conclusions onto a hopefully soon-to-be-created Wikipedia-based science portal, or maybe the Synapse Portal being created now by Sage Bionetworks. Give everyone on the planet who wants one a unique researcher ID.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Bennett on January 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book really lines up with where some of our brightest minds would be well placed. It centers on Science and Math disciplines, but its application goes for beyond.

I have long believed that decision making methodologies are one of the places where there is the most easy ground to gain. We mostly do not make good decisions, we have no effective methodology, our biases run amock, facts don't matter near as much as they should and most people don't know or couldn't care less what that means in terms of results.

This book made me think more about how online tools could shepherd decision making in certain situations where something called praxis (not theory or opinion) could be agreed upon. Where opinions rule, collaboration may actually produce "collective stupidity". Collective intelligence really requires and shared and agreed upon base of principles and facts that clearly can define right from wrong to a degree.

But where answers really exist, software and web technologies provide us many great opportunities to advance. We can fairly easily and effectively experiment our way to a set of such tools by measure of results and extend.

This idea lends itself to itself. Imagine and Open Source Web enabled Collaboration Tool Set that develops a tool people can use to improve the tools themselves and then be used for other efforts bringing back more ideas for tools that work. There is something wonderful, especially in software development, to using your own tools to do the work. Here that strategy might really pay dividends in a very leveraged way. Anyone knows of such an effort, please comment as I would love to help with it.

This book is very much about online collaboration.
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