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I don't know how many of you read Michael Nielsen's blog or have had a chance to read his 2008 essay: The Future of Science—which he is expanding into a book, Reinventing Discovery—but I thought it was relevant to the Azimuth Project since the problem he highlights will be especially common when trying to tackle something as big as saving the planet.
In particular, consider this excerpt from the second part:
Part II: Collaboration Markets: building a collective working memory for science
The problem of collaboration
Even Albert Einstein needed help occasionally. Einstein’s greatest contribution to science was his theory of gravity, often called the general theory of relativity. He worked on and off on this theory between 1907 and 1915, often running into great difficulties. By 1912, he had come to the astonishing conclusion that our ordinary conception of geometry, in which the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees, is only approximately correct, and a new kind of geometry is needed to correctly describe space and time. This was a great surprise to Einstein, and also a great challenge, since such geometric ideas were outside his expertise. Fortunately for Einstein and for posterity, he described his difficulties to a mathematician friend, Marcel Grossman. Grossman said that many of the ideas Einstein needed had already been developed by the mathematician Bernhard Riemann. It took Einstein three more years of work, but Grossman was right, and this was a critical point in the development of general relativity.
Einstein’s conundrum is familiar to any scientist. When doing research, subproblems constantly arise in unexpected areas. No-one can be expert in all those areas. Most of us instead stumble along, picking up the skills necessary to make progress towards our larger goals, grateful when the zeitgeist of our research occasionally throws up a subproblem in which we are already truly expert. Like Einstein, we have a small group of trusted collaborators with whom we exchange questions and ideas when we are stuck. Unfortunately, most of the time even our collaborators aren’t that much help. They may point us in the right direction, but rarely do they have exactly the expertise we need. Is it possible to scale up this conversational model, and build an online collaboration market  to exchange questions and ideas, a sort of collective working memory for the scientific community?
It is natural to be skeptical of this idea, but an extremely demanding creative culture already exists which shows that such a collaboration market is feasible – the culture of free and open source software.
Helping others collaborate is a big part of the goals of the Azimuth Project. It might be good to establish some mechanism for scientists to solicit needed help, even if it is just a section of the Wiki for now. It doesn't need to be technically complex just functional with some level of formal protocols even if they are just established by convention and copying the style of what came before in Wiki text.
This also might be an opportunity to get some of the scientists that John is interviewing more involved in the Azimuth Project. We could find out one or two things that they'd like to know about, or get them to toss out needs that fall outside their normal collaboration circle's expertise and we could see if we can find people who can help with those questions, issues, or collaborations.