Pressured largely by publication delays and a bandwidth limit in the amount of information and knowledge that can be distributed through traditional academic publishing formats, the “hard sciences” have made inroads in expanding the growth of the open sharing of research and ideas. The accelerating rate of change of knowledge and shortening of the half-life of knowledge in the 21st Century render traditional publication and knowledge sharing methods obsolete. Open access libraries such as the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory collaboratory project and the National Fusion Collaboratory allow for the rapid sharing of ideas and rapid publication.
With few exceptions, these open collaboratories are absent from the social sciences. FLACSO México initiated a collaboratory project that can help fill the gap: Colaboratorios (the name is a play on “collaboration” and “laboratory”). Allowing authors to publish under a Creative Commons license, Colaboratios provides space for the sharing of ideas through publication of papers, a collaborative wiki, shared blog, and Skype-based conferences.