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My question is about this post. I would appreciate it if a few folks with strong biology backgrounds could weigh in.

There are currently three close votes on what appears to me to be a classic SAT-type biology question about osmosis. The reason is "off-topic" because it's not on the list of topics in the Help Center.

Okay I am mystified. An upvoted comment suggests the question would be a "better fit" for physics or chemistry, but I think this is one area in which chemistry, physics, and biology intersect, as a basic understanding of osmosis underlies an understanding of cell membranes.

As far as I know most of the lab experiments in osmosis shown online are associated with first-year biology classes. The topic is covered in physics and chemistry but the underlying thermodynamics is too technical for a first year course and there are other lab priorities.

Have I missed some sea-change in academic thinking about this topic?

Edit: The question is now closed as off topic. I nominated the question to be re-opened and am requesting that it be re-opened by moderator in any event. This closure seems particularly strange given the dearth of clearly articulated college-level biology questions on the site.

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  • $\begingroup$ The question has been re-opened. Thanks for the responses. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Jul 11 '14 at 19:06
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Osmosis is on-topic, it is a fundamental concept that plays a significant role in biology.

One could maybe justify closing this specific question due to our homework policy, but not because of the actual topic of the question.

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I voted to close, as I believe the question belongs on Chemistry.SE. While osmosis is a fundamental biological concept, the question doesn't have anything to do with biological processes per se, it is simply a chemistry question.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't that be true of almost any aspect of biology? And if we dig deeper, we might put most of chemistry into physics and a lot of physics into math. Can't there be some legitimate overlap? Many biological questions are "simply chemistry questions." $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Jul 11 '14 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ @daniel I'm not going that far. I'm just saying that if one were to read the question without any site context, and then be asked on which SE site it best belonged, most people would probably vote for Chemistry. That being said, if the question can be reworded to emphasize the biological context, I would vote to reopen it. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Jul 11 '14 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, stripped of context I would do the same. But the question is closed as off-topic and we do have context. I will think about adding verbiage but it will be hard because I feel it's already not off-topic. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Jul 11 '14 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ I took a stab at adding some language to add context. Probably someone who felt the context was not adequate would do a better job but it's a start. I guess if you could let me know if it helps... Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Jul 11 '14 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ @daniel That looks great. I just voted to reopen. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Jul 11 '14 at 14:53

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