At our pre-SfN workshop on open-source tools, participants discussed the need for more interactions among researchers using the tools. Sometimes people get help with their projects by posting on social media. But not everyone sees these posts. Online forums seem to be a better option for solving problems and getting new tools into research projects as quickly as possible. We wanted to share information about existing forums and a new one from our project in this post.
You can ask specific questions about open-source projects through the projects’ GitHub pages, discussion forums, and email lists. More general questions might be best asked elsewhere. One forum with a lot of users is the NeuroMethods Slack group, maintained by Ben Saunders. It offers channels with discussion on a variety of research methods, including some of the programs and devices that we have posted about on OpenBehavior. Another forum is TheBehaviourForum.org. It focuses on experimental methods for animal behavioral research. A third option is the INCF Neurostars forums. It is a well-established forum with thousands of users, and support for topics in informatics and programming.
To support the adoption of the programs and devices posted about by our project, the OpenBehavior team has launched a new Discord server. The goal of this server is to be a place to talk about the skills needed to make and use open-source research tools. We hope that people will share their successes (and failures) in bringing new tools into their research setups. We also hope that users of the server will learn new skills and become more effective at quickly bringing new tools into their research.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining the server. You will need a Discord account to access the server. Create one, if needed, and include your Discord username and academic affiliation in your email to us. Then, send our Discord account (openbehavior) a friend request and we will invite you to the server.