Networked Science and StackExchange

BioStar StackExchange

I first discovered Biostar, a StackExchange for bioinformatics, computational genomics and systems biology, via a post of Deepak’s (FriendFeed: mndoci) back in March: BioStar — A bioinformatics stackexchange. I’ve been meaning to use it, but with the job change and move, I just haven’t had time. It’s similar to the Life Scientists room on FriendFeed, although obviously more focused on Q & A.

Part Digg, part forum, part blog and part wiki, StackExchange is a place to get expert answers to your questions. Today, I stumbled across Meta StackExchange, a forum to ask questions about StackExchange itself. Scanning down the page, I saw the question “Proposal for Physical Computing StackExchange” and thought to myself, “Oh, that’s interesting, you can create smaller, more focused groups.”

Little did I know … those focused groups are called “Stacks” and there’s a number of them, several of which revolve around science.

Recently, Andrew Perry (FriendFeed: pansapiens) wrote about StackExchange Sites for Science. He briefly reviewed a couple of them and linked to a list of science-related StackExchanges. I was interested in the Neuroknowledge stack until I saw all the spam. Hopefully, Stack Exchange 2.0 with it’s new site creation process and Creative Commons licensing will address the problem.

Scientific research today no longer happens in a vacuum. Networking technologies and online resources such as StackExchange are helping to increase the pace of scientific communication, scholarship and progress in the digital age. It’s truly an exciting time for networked science.

Walter Jessen is a digital strategist, writer, web developer and data scientist. You can typically find him behind the screen something with an internet connection.