As we think about the future of ki, we keep a close eye on what’s happening in global data science to collect ideas that may make us more effective. One trend we’re tracking is open science, especially the best practices at pioneering institutions. Take the example of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC).

SGC recently announced Open Notebooks, an initiative involving more than 20 postdocs who will share their day-to-day research in almost real time. Here’s how it works: the researchers will deposit data as it comes in on an online repository, Zenodo, and post regular accompanying blogs to contextualize, summarize, and ask questions about the data.

All the open notebooks can be found here. Anyone can join the open notebooks slack channel (

SGC has been using open electronic lab notebooks internally for more than a decade, and its researchers have been writing weekly blog posts for the past five years. Two years ago, Dr. Rachel Harding, an SGC postdoc, created a public blog, Lab Scribbles, which helped her connect to the large community of people interested in Huntington’s Disease research. Her blog has catalyzed more than a dozen new scientific collaborations, helping to raise her profile and launch her career.

Dr. Harding’s experience provided a concrete example of the benefits of open science in a world where, in the words of SGC’s leaders, “the metrics of success…conspire against sharing.” These benefits include: “rapid access to new results, increased transparency and greater reproducibility, access to ‘negative’ results, and access to intermediate successes and iterative optimization steps,” as well as the ability to build a research network. With that impetus, SGC decided to launch open notebooks to help change the culture of science and eventually adjusting the metrics of success so that they reward open science.

Within ki, our rallies, currently running in cloud-based collaborative workspaces on both the Open Science Framework (OSF) and Synapse, aim to provide similar benefits as SGC’s open lab notebooks. What if the foundation went further and made open notebooks the standard for all its research grantees? How would it speed up our work?