It’s true: you can’t believe everything that you read on the Web

An oft-repeated cliché is that “you can’t believe what you read on the Web.” Of course, you can’t believe what you read anywhere: it’s up to individuals to assess the quality and reliability of information, regardless of the source. That said, it can be alarming to sit back and watch the speed with which errors propagate in cyberspace. Yesterday, I watched this unfold in a few short hours:

  1. I (and others) bookmark a link to a project called gpeerreview, hosted at Google Code
  2. A blog post (since corrected) states that the search giant has been working on a peer review tool
  3. My bookmark appears at FriendFeed, where we discuss the incorrect attribution of the project to Google
  4. Another blog post on Google Peer Review appears
  5. Links and comments about gpeerreview start popping up all over FriendFeed, some of which suggest it is a Google project

The great thing about the Web though, is that it corrects itself just as rapidly. With a few well-placed comments, some discussion at FriendFeed and the best solution – an email enquiry to the project developer (well done Richard!), the phrase “Google Peer Review” was consigned to the error basket.

I’m not pointing the finger or criticising anyone here. Unless you develop software, you’re unlikely to be aware of Google Code and the URL/site design do make it look like a “content owned by Google website”. Just be aware: when writing, to be sure of your facts and when reading, to critically assess and not blindly accept.

Open (notebook) science gathers momentum

Pedro has started an open science project to study domain family expansion. He’s trialling Google Code as his project repository. I think this is a great idea and a very exciting approach. If you have anything to contribute, go and check it out. While you’re there, click the bioinformatics tag to see another 54 projects at Google Code. Quite a resource, although a few are not very active.

And in open science synchronicity, David Ng publicises Rosie Redfield’s lab on BoingBoing and links to his blog post where she discusses the benefits of open science and blogging. The few comments so far focus on the old “but won’t we get scooped” argument, so head over there and say something positive.

We must keep pushing the agenda – open research will be the norm one day, I’m sure of it.