Thinking about this there are a few obvious ideas. One is, of course, access control. Requiring some sort of registration and authentication in order to view the notebook. This could provide a paper, err electronic, trail for any possible nefarious use. Someone this seems to me to violate the spirit of Open Notebook Science (and, sitting here typing this in Redmond, Washington, even I don’t want to take on the Open X crowd.)
But another idea occurred to me while working with the new TiddlyWiki I’m using as a notebook. One aspect of the TiddlyWiki is that it can back itself up everytime you save a file. Another aspect of TiddlyWiki is that you can have the program automagically save itself after every edit. These, of course, are in conflict, since doing lots of edits leads to lots of backups. A solution to this is the cool LessBackupsPlugin, which allows you to keep a fewer number of backups, limited by once per year, once per month, once per day, once per hour, etc. This keeps the number of backups down to a much more reasonable number.
But this got me thinking. Why note perform Open Notebook Science, but delayed. That is your own notebook is publicly accessible, but it is delayed by some set amount, say a month behind your actual notebook. This still violates part of the spirit of Open Notebook Science, but it also does open up your science for others to follow along. It also gives a disincentive for others to *ahem* “lift” your work since there is great uncertainty that you aren’t about to publish your results, and more follow up results which you’ve produced in the intervening months. Indeed I suspect people are more likely to contact you and say “hey did you think about this?” than to grab your work and run.
Of course I chose the delay time randomly. What would be even better is that you could give yourself a variable time for whatever you are working on. For instance, in creating factual notebooks which describe your notes about a paper, you may not want any delay at all. But for your active projects which you consider your bread and butter, you may want to set a delay which is longer.
Hm, I might have my first project for TiddlyWiki.
Update: NIH funded sailors disagree.