Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Site: Open Source Science

For the past few weeks, Alex Tsakiris (the host of Skeptiko) and I have been developing a new site called OpenSourceScience. The site is the first scientifically-oriented website to bring the power of open source methods to the skeptical examination of controversial areas of science such as telepathy, psi, near-death experiences, reincarnation, and after-life encounters.

OpenSourceScience officially launches its new website located at today. The website offers a variety of tools for managing scientific experiments and provides a place for visitors to discuss and participate in the research process. Besides promoting scientific collaboration, OpenSourceScience offers financial grants to researchers working within the areas featured on the website.

The site is built on wiki technology, and according to Alex Tsakiris, the open source model is well suited for this task: “The open source model has proven to be a powerful enabling technology because it promotes collaboration. When you look at some of the controversial areas of research, like whether our consciousness is separate from our brain, there has been very little collaboration between researchers and those with opposing views. Everyone seems to agree that collaboration is necessary, but until now, it just hasn’t happened.”

OpenSourceScience is suited for scientifically-minded skeptics as well as those interested in controversial subjects such as parapsychology and human consciousness. The site’s first experiment examines whether dogs can anticipate their owners coming home in a way that is currently unexplained by science. The first two researchers of this phenomena, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake and Dr. Richard Wiseman, have offered their support in this collaborative re-examination of their experiments, and are looking forward to the results. Please join us in our efforts to replicate these studies.

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