Open science: sharing our clean water breakthrough data with all scientists

The Computing for Clean Water team is pleased to announce that the breakthrough paper we published online last month on the use of nanotechnology for more efficient water filtration will be available in the August print edition of Nature Nanotechnology. With our results published, we're now making the underlying data available to other interested scientists and discussing the attention our work has gotten, both from international experts in the field and from the world media.

It's been a month since Nature Nanotechnology published our Computing for Clean Water paper online, detailing how water flow through carbon nanotubes can be dramatically accelerated, potentially improving access to clean water for millions of people. This week, the print edition of the journal will be published, so it's a good moment to make sure that we're sharing the benefits of our research with the wider scientific community. Today, we want to announce that we're fulfilling a commitment to open data, and we also want to share with you some of the responses our work has already gotten.

Fulfilling our promise: raw data available

The breakthrough that we describe in our paper was only possible because of the thousands of years of computing time donated by World Community Grid volunteers. As part of the World Community Grid commitment to open data access, and in accordance with the data policy of Nature, our team is making the published data, as well as underlying raw data publicly available. This opens the door to other scientists to benefit from our work for their own fields of research. There are several terabytes of raw data, so this is not something we can simply share as an email attachment. So interested parties should contact the corresponding authors.

Peer validation

Although our paper went through extensive peer review as part of the publication process, we have also gotten further validation from experts in the field. The Nature editors ask independent experts to comment on the most interesting and highest-impact papers published in Nature journals, and in one of these commentaries, world-leading physicists Lydéric Bocquet and Roland Netz speak very positively about our discovery and its potential applications. They note that our research was only possible because of "massive crowd-sourced computing power" and they state that the results of our research both "suggest a number of exciting leads for experiments" and "point to the development of mechano-fluidics in nanoscale objects as a new approach to couple nanofluidics and nanoelectromechanics."

It was very encouraging to read that independent, world-leading experts in this field believe that the research you helped power has opened a new avenue for studying water flows through nanostructures, along with potentially new ways of controlling and tuning such flows.

For more details, read the full article.

Worldwide attention

Finally, we have been overwhelmed by the incredible amount of attention this story has gotten, not only in the scientific community but on social media and in traditional media as well. Our story has garnered over 60 media hits in over 15 countries and half a dozen languages, including in China, Israel, Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Our subject might be considered quite technical, so it's wonderful to see that so many people in so many places understand the significance of our discovery and can see the link between our simulations and the development of real-world solutions to pressing problems.

On behalf of the whole team, thank you once again to all the World Community Grid volunteers who made it possible for us to do this research. As scientists, it's not every day we can say we worked with over 150,000 people around the world to get our results. It's been an inspiring and humbling experience. Each of you has contributed to the research, and we hope you share with us a sense of how groundbreaking this approach truly was, and how such research has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people.


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