Research Remix

April 2, 2008

A Centralized Proposal Repository

Filed under: openscience — Tags: , — Heather Piwowar @ 8:17 am

I actively support Nature Precedings as a place to archive my early research findings for visibility, feedback, and attribution. I recently submitted a research proposal. Precedings does a spot-check of all submissions to verify appropriateness. It usually takes a day or two, and results in an automated response stating that your submission has been posted. In this case, I received a personal, thoughtful email explaining that although Nature Precedings had published proposals in the past, they are moving away from this practice to concentrate on their core goal of “a repository for manuscripts, posters, and presentations describing completed research.”

I see the issue. On one hand, if the goal of a preprint is to get feedback and attribution for research ideas, what better time to do it than at the proposal stage. On the other hand, ideas are a dime a dozen and so it might not be scalable for Nature Precedings.

Sounds like we need another solution. There was a letter to Nature just recently (highlighted by Maxine Clarke in Nautilus), calling for a Centralized Proposal Repository. This idea is grander than simply a wiki for feedback and attribution. Dr Harel is suggesting it could also be searched by funders, to identify projects which match their interests.

Dr Harel expands on this idea on his website and links to the beginning of a Centralized Proposal Repository wiki.

Great idea, and I think right up the alley of open science. The wiki seems to be Protected (to limit spammers?) I’ll go ask to join, and keep you updated on what I learn.

ETA: Looks like Jean-Claude Bradley was involved in the set-up of the wiki. Great stuff!


  1. I had a similar issue with putting up the network proposal on Precedings. I meant to blog about it at the time but never got around to it. I am not sure whether I agree with their stance, as to me a repository for research really includes the proposal stage. But perhaps a separate proposal repository is a better idea. Will be interested to hear what happens.

    Comment by Cameron Neylon — April 2, 2008 @ 9:27 am

  2. It is really unfortunate that Precedings is no longer taking proposals. My last NSF proposal did make it in and I was hoping to continue to use the site for that purpose. It has the advantage of giving a DOI and official authorship to documents that are never published anywhere else.

    Yes I helped Noam a bit with setting up the wiki and I definitely support his efforts for a repository, especially in light of the new Precedings policy.

    Comment by Jean-Claude Bradley — April 2, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  3. Hello, great to see further discussion of a centralized proposal repository (CPR). A more detailed version is on my website at

    A few questions and suggestions:

    1) Should I open up the ShareScienceIdeas Wiki ( to everyone? I thought it would be nice to get people to register their names before adding material.

    2) I like your data reuse proposal. Properly assigning credit to shared ideas and data is one of the major issues in transforming the current scientific culture away from one that rewards secrecy, towards one that rewards idea-sharing, collaborative planning and cooperative execution.

    3) Please post any comments, proposals, and suggestions on the ShareScienceIdeas Wiki and spread the word! I have attempted to attract the attention of just a couple of foundations, including, but no responses yet. The more proposals we collect, the better chance we can attract support to help fund the best proposals.

    Thanks, Noam

    Comment by Noam Y. Harel — April 2, 2008 @ 10:59 pm

  4. Hi Noam! Thanks for commenting here. I’ve posted my proposal on the ShareScienceIdeas Wiki…. it went up without a hitch :)

    I don’t have much experience with wikis yet, but I’d say open it up. Since one of the goals/themes is Openness, I’d err on being open as much as possible unless or until there is a reason not to. Needing a login raises the barrier to posting, at least for me.

    I will indeed keep spreading the word about the ShareScienceIdeas wiki. I think it is a great idea, and I thank you for spearheading an implementation.

    Comment by Heather Piwowar — April 7, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  5. Thanks for the suggestion, Heather – the Wiki is now Open!


    Comment by Noam Y. Harel — April 8, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  6. Hello, I will post some comments on the wiki as well, but for those who have not seen it, here is another take on this proposal:

    I look forward to additional feedback!

    Comment by Noah Gray — April 9, 2008 @ 9:14 am

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