View Full Version : Re: Bionet controversial topic #7: What a biomechanics datarepository should contain in order to be valuable?

Rainer Goellner
04-23-2002, 06:51 PM
Marco Viceconti wrote:
> ...
> Using again Paul Ostic words we have a grand,
> and perhaps naive vision. Is
> it too grand? Is it too naive? Or is this the
> Grand Challenge that would
> provide a quantum leap to biomechanics research?
> Considering that this would be a life-long endeavour,
> once again the
> opinion of young fellows, the only ones who may have
> the chance to see it
> done, is particularly welcome.
Though not being a young fellow, just a not so
old technical assistant, I'd like to contribute
my two euro-cents...

Your global repository is an idea spinning around
in my head for years now. I really do think your
vision of a global repository is _the_ Grand Challenge
for the biomechanics community.

And that's exactly the problem: You will need a
special kind of community to get it started, and,
what is even more vital, to keep the project running.

I don't see this kind of community. Even worse: The
scientific community of our area is kind of the
opposite of what's needed.

The more or less social problems regarding the
process of keeping an open repository project
alive have been discussed quite detailed by
the now so called Open Source scene. Especially
"The Cathedral and the Bazaar" by Eric S. Raymond
has spawned a tremendous amount of critics and
critics of critics.

To summarize it very abridged: You'll need a
"charismatic" leader to gather people around
him, and you need lots of people being concerned
with the theme in a very personal way. While
these prerequesites may eventually be feasible
in parts of our community, the consequence will not:
People get paid in kudos, not in citation indices
or anything else, what would be of any worth in
the official evaluation of their work.

It's a pity, but I fear, it's like that,


Rainer Goellner
IfADo (that's: Institute for occupational health)
Dortmund, Germany

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