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Nature[A] thought-provoking call to arms. . . . Reinventing Discovery will frame serious discussion and inspire wild, disruptive ideas for the next decade.
— Chris Lintott
In Reinventing Discovery, Michael Nielsen argues that we are living at the dawn of the most dramatic change in science in more than 300 years. This change is being driven by powerful new cognitive tools, enabled by the internet, which are greatly accelerating scientific discovery. There are many books about how the internet is changing business or the workplace or government. But this is the first book about something much more fundamental: how the internet is transforming the nature of our collective ...
In Reinventing Discovery, Michael Nielsen argues that we are living at the dawn of the most dramatic change in science in more than 300 years. This change is being driven by powerful new cognitive tools, enabled by the internet, which are greatly accelerating scientific discovery. There are many books about how the internet is changing business or the workplace or government. But this is the first book about something much more fundamental: how the internet is transforming the nature of our collective intelligence and how we understand the world.
Reinventing Discovery tells the exciting story of an unprecedented new era of networked science. We learn, for example, how mathematicians in the Polymath Project are spontaneously coming together to collaborate online, tackling and rapidly demolishing previously unsolved problems. We learn how 250,000 amateur astronomers are working together in a project called Galaxy Zoo to understand the large-scale structure of the Universe, and how they are making astonishing discoveries, including an entirely new kind of galaxy. These efforts are just a small part of the larger story told in this book--the story of how scientists are using the internet to dramatically expand our problem-solving ability and increase our combined brainpower.
This is a book for anyone who wants to understand how the online world is revolutionizing scientific discovery today--and why the revolution is just beginning.
Reinventing Discovery is an essential read for anyone wanting to take advantage of knowledge and networking available online.
— Georgia Leaker
"A worthy manifesto for an important cause."—Michael Gilding, Inside Story
"Reinventing Discovery provides an important first sketch of the rapidly emerging networked science and makes it clear that certain fields of discovery can take advantage of an unprecedented acceleration enabled by online networks."—Thomas Vogt, Physics Today
"Nielsen's book is an amazing collection of interesting examples, important protagonists and references. It makes illustrative comparisons to open source software development. With his easily readable, well explained and perfectly argued style, Nielsen manages to keep the reader interested in this rather dry philosophical topic throughout the whole book. . . . [T]he book provides a comprehensive overview of developments in open science and is more than worth the reading time for someone interested in the foundations of science."—Florian Fisch, Lab Times
"Although this book is written in the 'popular science' style, it is not as breathless as many comparable texts and it is written by a practising scientist with a widely cited output in the field of quantum computing. It is recommended reading for any academic pathologists."—Simon Cross, Bulletin of the Royal College of Pathologists
"Nielsen's book is timely and makes the case that scientists have the 'opportunity to change the way knowledge is constructed.' Librarians reading this book will find content that is familiar such as the discussions on open access, open data, and data citation initiatives. The take-away is that Nielsen, as a scientist, is addressing his peers on topics that are also important to librarians. Perhaps Nielsen's Reinventing Discovery: The Era of Networked Science will be the impetus for 'lighting an almighty fire under the scientific community' in creating an open scientific culture."—Barbara Losoff, portal: Libraries and the Academy
"This is a book for anyone who wants to understand how the online world is revolutionizing scientific discovery today—and why the revolution is just beginning."—World Book Industry
Chapter 1:Reinventing Discovery 1
PART 1: AMPLIFYING COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE 13
Chapter 2: Online Tools Make Us Smarter 15
Chapter 3: Restructuring Expert Attention 22
Chapter 4: Patterns of Online Collaboration 44
Chapter 5: The Limits and the Potential of Collective Intelligence 69
PART 2: NETWORKED SCIENCE 89
Chapter 6: All the World’s Knowledge 91
Chapter 7: Democratizing Science 129
Chapter 8: The Challenge of Doing Science in the Open 172
Chapter 9: The Open Science Imperative 187
Appendix: The Problem Solved by the Polymath Project 209
Selected Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading 217
Posted November 2, 2011
Michael Nielson's new book, Reinventing Discovery, takes an in-depth look at the exponentially augmented power of problem solving through collaboration over the Internet. It's not like it could not have been anticipated - the Internet was, after all, in its youth, a tool of the academic world. Yet the reality is so much greater than any prediction might have been, and Nielson takes us right into this exciting new reality and allows us to understand for ourselves the near-magical capabilities that lay before us. What we are talking about here is the extent to which on-line collaboration on a specific problem has already been successful in solving problems that no one individual has been able to solve alone. Take the Polymath project that Nielson tells us about. In this instance a mathematician decided to use his blog to tackle an unsolved mathematical problem and through collaboration from mathematicians all over the Internet the problem was solved in 37 days. But the joy, as Nielson tells us, is less about getting the solution to any one problem than it is about this incredible new take on the scientific method. And there are other projects that are taking similar advantage of the potential of the Internet to gather knowledge and solve problems. Nielson calls this networked science, and insists that this ongoing transformation of the way we collaborate in our ventures is speeding up the rate of all scientific discovery. "Citizen science," as Nielson calls it, makes use of amateur volunteers in association with the scientists of academia in problem-solving. This new wave of collaboration is successful, first of all, because of the Internet's ability to "connect the right people" and "increase the cognitive diversity" of the participants in a cooperative venture. This is a fascinating look at a rapidly growing trend that is on the cusp of changing our society in profound ways. I have been riveted by it and the future it promises. My advice is - read it for yourself and let it inspire you!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.