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Some have said that an image is worth a thousand words, or at least a dozen or two data points. Taking measurements is a given in any lab, working in any field of science.

Therefore, we have set up an extension on OWW that allows one to easily generate some simple line, bar or pie charts by simply introducing some wiki code and comma separated values.

The charts are generated automatically via the Google Charts API and therefore any changes made to the values within the wiki code values, will generate a new chart, on-the-fly.

We have set up a page with some very simple examples on how to produce such charts. There is more info at the official extension’s page at Google Code.

If you happen to be looking for something more complex that can handle not only data points but also equations, then you are looking for another feature we also support via gnuplot. You can find more info on this feature/extension here.

There’s an interesting (but rather short) interview with Cameron Neylon and Jean-Claude Bradley on the topic of open notebooks and sharing of data on the web. Some interesting points are made by both interviewees such as Cameron’s point on the main concerns:

The main issue is the fear of rivals stealing data. The second one is: will I be able to publish? And that depends on the publisher. Most publishers regard what we do as the equivalent of presenting at a conference, or a preprint. That hasn’t been tested across a wide range of publishers, and there’s at least one — the American Chemical Society — that doesn’t allow prepublication in any form whatsoever. There’s also a legitimate concern that a lot of people will put out a lot of rubbish.

And JC Bradley’s view of an open notebook:

The basic philosophy of open-notebook science is to have no insider information. Essentially all the information that is available to the [research] group is available to the rest of the world. You have an objective, a procedure and a log section, in which you report what you actually do.

These is far more to be said about sharing data and the use of open notebooks. Both Cameron and JC Bradley have written about their experiences on their blogs. I’d recommend snooping around because there is much to read.