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What's it like putting so much of this work 'in the open'?

You made this discovery the most 'openly accessible' paleontology report ever - has there been any unexpected benefits or surprises or negative consequences to having done so?

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So far, it has been nothing but positive! We were blown away by the number of people who accessed the discovery (either at the journal article or www.dinosaurjoe.org or via news media articles), and it has been uniformly positive. A few colleagues early on were skeptical about us releasing so much digital data, but I haven't heard any real substantive critique beyond "But...won't people be able to work on the specimen without you?!" Which is sort of the point of releasing digital data!

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A commenter over at Ars Technica was going to attempt a print of the skull, but I haven't heard if they were successful or not. We have 3D printed various parts over here for our own use--in fact, just last week I produced a copy of the brain cavity for a visiting researcher who was studying dinosaur brain anatomy.

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I've heard no criticisms beyond what Andy describes. Most people think it's pretty cool.

Some people are pretty proprietary with their data. This makes sense when you think about how many years (decades even) it can take to build a massive dataset of measurements or scans or slides. You do all this work and would like to be involved in how the material gets out there because decades of blood, sweat, and tears went into it. I don't begrudge people wanting to keep working with their data, as long as the relevant info to reproduce the analyses are made available. But I think that if you can make everything available, doing so can lead to new collaborations, in addition to new citations.

In my subfield, paleohistology, we were long limited by constraints on the size of figures you could publish - no way to get a large high resolution image of an entire slide (especially dino-bone-sized slides) into a print journal. But that meant that in order to see the whole slide, you had to risk sending very fragile slides around the world, and certain types of analyses (or even just checking other people's data) were just not feasible. Now that gigapixel imaging is cheap and easy to do, laptops can process them, and there are many avenues to host them online, we're able to share with colleagues around the world. It's an era of new collaborations, not an era of backstabbing or otherwise screwing people over. At least so far.

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Ask me anything journal club

- with Andy Farke and Sarah Werning

On November 13th Andy Farke and Sarah Werning will be here live to answer your questions. They recently published the now famous 'baby dinosaur' paper. We welcome anyone to ask them a question regarding this paper, paleontology in general or any other topic before, during, and after the event.

When: November 13, 2013 08:00 am PST

Where: Ask me anything - with Andy Farke and Sarah Werning