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MozillaMozilla has just opened ScienceLab, believing that the project will help foster scientific ideas and will be an open platform for making scientific research more collaborative. The ScienceLab is an initiative that aims to use the open web to build a community around ideas, tools, and implementation of best practices for using next-generation web solutions to solve real problems in science, and explore ways to make research more agile and collaborative.

Mozilla is one of the more well-known proponents of Open Source projects, but the launch of ScienceLab is bit of a departure – though a welcome one– from their usual focus on web technologies.

The ScienceLab is spearheaded by Kaitlin Thaney who has extensive experience with Science Commons and Software Carpentry founder Greg Wilson. The Mozilla Science Lab is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. They have a vision which says…

Even though the web was invented by scientists, we still have not yet seen it change scientific practice to nearly the same extent. In scientific research, we’re dealing with special circumstances, trying to innovate upon hundreds of years of entrenched norms and practices, broken incentive structures and gaps in training that are dramatically slowing down the system, keeping us from making the steps forward needed to better society.

The main focus area of the Mozilla project is to build up digital literacy among the young scientific community and turn them into true “digital researchers” so that they can use the many tools the web makes possible today. One of the main items on their agenda is imparting basic computer training through bootcamps across the United States. The ScienceLab hopes that widespread use of digital tools will help researchers to share and learn more through collaborative experiences. Check out the wiki if you want to be involved.

It’s a start, and the vision is promising. It also serves as a fine example of how web technologies can help to change age-old practices for the better. Would you agree?

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Source: Mozilla Blog

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