Monday, September 7, 2009

The Big (and Crazy) Announcement

A few months ago, Matt Wedel (of SV-POW! fame) lamented the lack of measurements in most contemporary scientific papers. As a real numberhead, his post resonated with me. It got me thinking. Despite the shortcomings of some papers, there are a lot of measurements out there in the literature already. With measurements, you can do science. Potentially some really cool science. But how could I collect all of these data? This could take years!

The gears in my brain started turning. One idea led to another. A plan was forming. Something crazy. Deeply, insanely crazy.

So what happened next? I teamed up with SV-POW's Matt Wedel and Mike Taylor to create a research project in dinosaur paleontology that anyone can participate in. The Open Dinosaur Project. We (yes, "we" includes you) will comb through the literature (which, thanks to a number of open access publications and archives, is quite data-rich) and pull out measurements for further analysis. The process - from data collection to analysis to publication - will be completely open. Every step of the way will be blogged. And. . .all contributors are invited to join us as co-authors. The project: look at the evolution of the limbs in ornithischian dinosaurs.

Thus was born The Open Dinosaur Project. Consider this your invitation to join us. Read more about it at the project blog!


Zachary Miller said...

So just ornithischians? Or everybody else, too?

Oh, it's exciting either way! I shall begin trawling my archives thusly!

Brian Lee Beatty said...

I think this is a GREAT idea, I wish more folks would coordinate to do such things.
Where do you plan on submitting the paper? I assume to an open access journal - might I suggest ?
Sorry for the shameless plug, but a data-intensive paper with pages upon pages of tables with no page limits is just the sort of thing PalArch has been hoping to get, though it rarely happens. And by publishing as soon as it is accepted and formatted, it needn't wait forever.
Sorry - my shameless plug can end now.

Nick said...

If I didn't misunderstand, I think the target journal is PLoS, Brian.

Andy said...

Yes, we are aiming for PLoS ONE at present. . .(but I also have PalArch in mind for some other projects).

And thank you for the compliments! I think this is going to be a great project. :-)

Anonymous said...

Awesome!! Count me in!! :D And...Crazy idea, this is NOT! lol! :D