I’m on the plane home from Science Online 2010. Can I just say- that meeting was TOTALLY EXCELLENT. I usually attend meetings in my field that are all seriously hardcore science, seriously 24/7. I mean seriously. So this was a totally different population and a set of subject matter than my usual meeting fare.
What did I love about and learn from #Scio10? Best just to make a list, in no particular order:
1. First, I met such an interesting mix of people. There were science journalists, editors, scientists, bloggers, scientist bloggers (like myself), librarians, programmers and computer geeks (I say that with the utmost affection from one geek to another) and folks that run large blog and publishing networks. I would never encounter such a diverse group with divergent but widely overlapping interests in these areas anywhere else. (and my apologies to anyone who I failed to mention).
2. Second, electronic media is changing scholarly publishing, peer review will not go away (nor should it) but the speed of things will change where necessary (see Plos Currents beta Influenza), and so will the discussion that comes after an article – incorporating blogs, twitter, friendfeed etc, as will the metrics by which scientific articles and the prestige of scientific journals is evaluated to include the many many new communication methods now available. PloS One seems to be leading the charge on this one with article level metrics ….and at the risk of being a groupie, I heart Peter Binfield and Jonathan Eisen. (and the rest of PLoS too, cool visualizations of PLoS ALM data by Mike Chelen to be found here)
3. Third, electronic media is hitting basic science like a tidal wave. I’d bet you $100 that I’m the only one that blogs, uses twitter, that sees the utility in Google groups and other fun Google stuff like Google reader, and that uses Facebook in my department (well, that’s actually a lie – one of my close colleagues uses FB as well). BUT my eyes were opened at this meeting to the fact that I am barely scratching the surface of what is already available, and what is possible. I nearly leapt from my chair during John Hogenesh’s talk about cloud computing and its application to genomic work. My community of scientists is going to have to deal with their discomfort of new technology and start learning how to swim here-… or they will get left behind on the beach.
4. Fourth, can I just say- I’ve got a little hero worship thing going on with those PLoS guys.
5. Fifth- Like I said up there, I’m the only one I know in my current scientific environment that uses twitter- but using hashtags to tweet a meeting… is quite a remarkable thing. Especially when you are doing this with a meeting full of 250 odd people who are totally and completely comfortable with twitter, the sheer volume of tweets was quite incredible. I loved seeing what was going on in sessions that I wasn’t in this way. Go to twitter and search hashtag: #scio10, and you will see just exactly what I mean. That Janet Stemwedel is a tweeting machine. Out.Of.Control.
6. Sixth- You know I blog- but most people at my institution don’t and many times we don’t even speak the same language when it comes to electronic communication methods, and sometimes this can be a little isolating. A person can get a lot of shit for blogging while on the tenure track… ’cause, you know, it takes time away from the pursuit of real science, the production of papers and grants (as so hilariously detailed in Dr. Stemwedel’s ignite talk). But this going to this conference, and meeting many, many of the bloggers whose fine work I read daily (Isis, Pal, Sci, Janet, Zuska, Abel, Sheril and others I’m not sure I can name on blog, but you know who you are), and talking to struggling graduate students, made me realize that not only do people actually read what I write – but maybe from time to time what I write puts something useful out into the blogosphere that others coming behind me might learn from. I think that maybe for the first time I appreciated my own role in the diverse chorus of voices that are out there blogging about similar issues.
7. Seventh- see all those bloggers I list up there- they are awesome as real people as they are in the blogosphere, as are those I did not name. I’m humbled to be part of this community.
8. Finally, the meeting itself was exquisitely organized, orchestrated, and executed. Hats off to Bora Zivkovic and Anton Zuiker, and the army of others and volunteers that was undoubtedly helping them out, for accomplishing this Herculean task and labor of love.
I’m sure there is more, but that is all for the moment…
Oh, and,… I did NOT partake of the motherfucking Jameson, although it was being served. Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity in 2011?!
(sorry for the double post, I forgot to add a couple of IMPORTANT links in the first round!)