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Scientific Journalism aka Open Source Journalism

June 13, 2011

Open Source Journalism, or as Wired called it in their ‘Jargon Watch’ column ‘Scientific Journalism‘ they define as:

Journalism that publishes a reporters source documents and other background data with the final article.  Promoted by Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, it apes the data transparency of scientific publishing.

Yes it is about verifying the original, but I call it Open Source, as the idea is that you publish the source with the article. Thinking about it, that is only part of the question. By calling it ‘Open Source’ I am also applying a copyright layer suggesting that others can write new articles or re-write (and expand) the existing one based on the source, much as a programmer would join a open source project and build on the existing code-base. Its an interesting approach as it can branch in many ways; from just putting to source with the original so others can validate your article from the data. It can suggest that others add to the original article to expand upon it, bringing new perspectives and expertise to it. It also suggests new article could be written from the source, compiling new new views of the same subject. The open source also suggests that the condition of leaving the source is that if another adding/writes new then they should also leave their source behind too.

A while ago I co-wrote an article for The Independent on Wiki-technology. As with any article, we had gathered lots more source information that was in the final article. I was keen to publish all of the email conversation, drafts etc with it – in a wiki format. Also to invite others to use the same source to write their own articles too. Sadly the Indy did not go for it. Perhaps now they might?

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