The Mozilla Science Lab has a new website

You may have noticed that we recently rolled out the first version of our new website! When we began this project, we knew we wanted the site to serve the open research community and help enable others to learn, solve problems and build new tools together. This led to us building a cleaner and clearer resource with new features supporting open science. I wanted to take some time to introduce some of the updates and motivations, and also invite feedback as we continue to iterate on the design and functionality over the coming months.

First things first – a cleaner homepage

First impressions matter. We wanted our landing page to communicate what we do and show others how they can join us as we bring together a community to help research thrive on the open web.

You’ll notice some bold new imagery and our mission statement placed front and center to help bring some clearer messaging about the Science Lab. We have also added a ‘Join us’ button in both the front page and navigation. When you click on the button, a modal appears summarizing what we do as a community to help others see where they can fit in.

Putting community at the forefront

The Science Lab has, since it’s launch, worked to help support and connect the researchers, librarians and developers advancing open science on the web. Community is at the core of our work, and we wanted the new site to really showcase the people behind the work globally.

If you visit our new About page, you’ll notice the names of contributors from the blog, live events, as well as Collaborate – a project we launched in the fall of 2014. Each name links to a contributor page listing all Collaborate projects they lead, events they’ve helped facilitate and articles they’ve written for our blog. We’re still testing out ways to make this even more representative of the community powering open research, including those involved with live events (sprints, workshops, the Mozilla Festival). We’d love to hear your thoughts – feel free to add them here:

Integration with GitHub

Back this fall, we launched Collaborate, a curated list of open projects from the community furthering science on the web that you can get involved in. Over the last few months, we’ve worked with a handful of project leads to work out the kinks for spinning up these projects and engaging with the research and developer communities.

We’ve also used the pilot as a testbed for GitHub integration – a code hosting service heavily used in the research and software development community. You’ll notice that each project on Collaborate directly links to an open repository, as well as shows the contributors alongside it. You can also favorite / star a project, and join projects (both on the Science Lab site and in your GitHub account).

We’ve also added to the “Join” button a social hack for those new to GitHub. When you hit the button, you’ll be prompted to introduce yourself in the project’s “issues” section (essentially a forum but in the project repository). We’ve seen some incredible conversation starting there, separate from code contributions, welcoming newcomers to the project, sharing ideas, and furthering ties among different communities.

Over the coming months, we’ll be weaving in further integration to the blog to make it even easier to interact with the projects and resources on the site, and contribute. Stay tuned for more.

Opening the call for Collaborate projects

Oh, and we’ve also added a submission form to Collaborate to make it easier to add your project to the list. Just start by selecting a public GitHub repository. There are a few questions to answer and pieces needed to get going which we’ll be writing about soon, but that process will be more open and straightforward soon.

What’s next?

We’ll be updating our blog to make it easier to incorporate more community contributions and tie into the trainings we support and Git and version control. We’re in the process of designing a system that will let anyone submit a blog post for review via GitHub Pull Request. We want to build something that will help us surface interesting work and projects in the community while also helping researchers learn some software development best practices, like version control and code review.

We’re still iterating on this new website. Please let us know your thoughts on how we can better support the open research community!

You can leave your feedback in our GitHub issue tracker.