About the Federation

The Open Science Federation is a nonprofit alliance working to improve the conduct and communication of science. We are scientists and citizen scientists, writers, journalists, and educators, and makers of and advocates for Open Data, Open Access, and Open Source and Standards.

Get to know us at @openscience on Twitter, or in Google+, and elsewhere, with which we have connected the largest Open Science network in the world. We recently took up a count, deduplicated, and identified more than 40,000 people and groups across our social network.

We do not intend to be at the centre of the Open Science community per se, though analyses often place us there, such as in NodeXL SNA Maps via @marc_smith, here and here. See also this analysis and some open data from the #openscience hashtag on Twitter. A network can be stronger than any one organization, and a federation of networks, stronger still. Thus we share access to our social media accounts with many individuals and organisations. Some of our account managers are listed on this page in Google+ while most of our friends @openscience on Twitter and elsewhere are anonymous. Multiple companies in the publishing industry and one in the healthcare industry have attempted to purchase our social media presence and our contacts’ data; we have declined and always will. Our efforts are by, for, and belong to the Open Science community.

As technically skilled volunteers and sometimes contractors, we take up technical projects under the Open Science Federation banner from time to time, especially in open source software for science, for science publishing, and for science communications. Some of our favourite recent work has been to build a federation of publishing and social networks, initially for the SciFund ChallengeScienceOnline in Seattle, the Bay Area, and in Vancouver, which has grown to serve many others. SciFund’s network of researcher blogs and sites, for example has spawned another, the Open Notebook Science Network. Altogether, this federation is comprised of now more than one thousand sites, blogs, and networks serving researchers and labs, event series, workshops and working groups and so on. See an example of a simple project site at the People Matter Project, part of the Communications Lab network.

These networks are federated in several regards, for example one’s username and password can be used in federated sites, and all sites share one copy of the open source software and services which power them and which we administer. Our system is like a WordPress.com for science, except you can run more than one site in a network, and rather than being one network it’s a network of networks, and we do not only run WordPress. Our code is open source and available in the proper, public repositories for WordPress, Drupal, et al.

We also run a separate federation for young adult researchers and bloggers, teachers, and mentors, called the Budding Scientists Federation. See example networks and blogs at FutureScienceLeaders.org, StudentBioExpo.org, and U20Science.org. For this junior federation alone, our volunteers have given in the low thousands of hours of pro bono software development and technical support, while also donating the cost of services such as web and email hosting.

Separately from all of the above, we maintain more highly secured, semi-private networks, used for example by biomedical researchers for online lab notebooks, intranets, event management, and so on. Contact us if you are interested in our services — if your work contributes to opening science, we’d like to help.

OpenScienceFederation.com is now a yearbook with a couple dozen projects, representative of our work in 2012-13. We will update it with more from 2014, and some of us are considering projects to make our site more interesting. These may include a global calendar of Open Science events, a directory of people and projects in Open Science, or a distributed, open source social layer for science.