This page is an aggregation of all the issues that we are facing today in the development of wikis that are related to science. This article is more like a list of points that many of us have already faced. We can sort these ideas into different sections, but we will try to remain concise since most points have been discussed elsewhere. Discussions should go to the discussion page.
List of points to consider
- world-writeable or not?
- several wikis with similar purposes, what to do?
The targets (readers) of the scientific wikis
Their might be one wiki per "target" (list below) or not:
- researchers in the field
- researchers in another scientific field
- people of the same lab or institution
- anyone curious about science
Role, usefulness of the wikis
- web site for a given lab (might require limitations on the write access)
- dynamic reviews on specific research topics in the same vein as review articles in scientific journals, including links to the latest papers and external web pages
- web-based collaborations which might require some secrecy, but still managed by an external Wiki hosting provider
- One wiki per existing scientific community?
- Community-specific communication:
- two articles with the exact same title could be written completely differently by two different communities, hence the need for one wiki site/subsite per community
- wiki extensions might be extremely useful for one community but not another
Inter-wiki compatibility, wiki farms
- Is compatibility between different wikis only required when merging two wikis because of a community which was accidentally split over 2 wikis, or is a universal standard really required? It may involve:
- license compatibility
- software compatibility
- wiki farm = several community wikis powered by the same wiki hosting service. The process of extending the features of one wiki might be slowed down by the fact that all other wikis of the farm will be affected.
Actual problems and consensus on how to solve them
In biology, several wikis exist, which are quickly described here:
- Openwetware.org (OWW) is ...
- Wikiomics.org is dedicated to the bioinformatics community, for researchers in the field and also for biologists who use bioinformatics and want a better access to the myriad of bioinformatics tools of today. It is a howto for these people so that their research becomes more convenient. One particularity of the bioinformatics community is that it is very sparse since most bioinformatics groups are isolated among wet labs, but most of them provide some software or some web services that are spread across thousands of individual web sites. The wiki is world-writeable, and this is not a problem since it does not serve as lab pages.
- Freebiology.org is ...
We all want to avoid competition between wikis that would have the same goals. We want to popularize the use of wikis by scientists, so we need some cooperation to direct users to the place which feels right for them.