A 2012 Retrospective

I’ve had an amazing 2012 scientifically speaking (but also personally speaking). So much transpired this past year and I have so many memories that I thought I’d share it. Plus everyone’s doing it so why not! Without further ado here is the IheartAnthony’s Research 2012 Retrospective:

Most Visited Posts:

  • Home Page/Archives – 4,305 views – While it isn’t all that surprising that the home page is the most visited page in my notebook, it actually is. The reason is because every day I find that people are browsing the site. The home page is the second click usually for the site and a lot of times there is a third click, or a fourth click, etc. With a blog that’s great, but for a resource that’s phenomenal. I hope I’ve contributed to your knowledge in some way this past year.
  • Why bother publishing in a journal? – 1,111 views – This is my single most viewed post and I feel the most important one to date. If you missed it, I discussed the possibility of using already available tools to publish your research and circumvent the current peer review process. By no means though do I suggest skipping peer review. I think that message got lost a little bit in the post because the comments were on fire with arguments against this hypothetical situation.
  • Active Experiments – 489 views – This page was made to aid in the navigation of my site and to explain the research that I’m carrying out. The fact that people are using it is amazing to me, but even more importantly it’s been a useful resource for myself.
  • FTIR study of differences between D2O, DDW, and DI water – 405 views – I did a brief experiment to study the absorption profile of the waters mentioned above. It was an exercise to see whether FTIR can determine the differences between the D content. I’ve since moved on to a better study that counts the D in solution. I find it amazing that such a normally “trivial” experiment could garner so much popularity.
  • The Open PCR Build – 274 views – I wrote this post when I first started this open notebook to document the build of the open sourced PCR machine known as Open PCR. This post also got me on the front page of OpenPCR.org, hopefully because of the help I provided the community and because of the help I provided the founders of the company. I also did some temperature data collection of the Open PCR unit and shared it on figshare, which got over 500 views!
  • Cut It Out, a new game by NEB – 210 views – Skipping down the stat list a bit, this post is probably my most useless one. Somehow though it managed to be the 8 most viewed page in my notebook. Has anyone actually played this game because of me?

My Favorite Posts:

  • Why bother publishing in a journal? – This is my favorite post because the engagement I received after posting was phenomenal. This is my single most commented-on post, and my thought experiment sparked a great conversation, one that I hope continues in 2013.
  • The Mythical Water Material Safety Data Sheet – One day I received some deuterium depleted water that came with an MSDS, and then hilarity ensued. Words can’t do it justice so just read the post. While you read make sure to drink lots of water, but if you spill any on yourself make sure to immediately rinse it off with water. I wouldn’t want anyone to get water burned!
  • Why I became an open scientist – I have a whole slew of posts dedicated to open notebook science, but this one is one of my favorites (along with my post about why you should be an open notebook scientist). Here I pour my soul to explain how I got started and why I keep doing what I do.
  • Can researchers protect their open data? – This post is just a few days old and is already gaining steam. One of the most frequent questions I receive is “How is someone supposed to be open when they have to deal with scientific scooping?” Well here I brainstorm a bit about available tools to protect your research. I’m currently in the process of learning a bit about copyright law and IP and I hope this will reveal a whole lot more about protecting research in an open environment.
  • Sketch Notes – At Scio12 (last year) I learned the art of sketch noting and I began to apply my artistic skills to science, an endeavor I had always intended. The practice is simple in concept: listen to a lecture and note the highlights. The catch is to do it via imagery and symbols. The final product is a bit chaotic, but it is also quite beautiful and it is downright fun!

Most Important Moments:

  • ScienceOnline 2012 – I consider Scio12 to be my scientific awakening. I have never experienced a conference quite like it, which is why I suppose it is referred to as the unconference. I met so many amazing colleagues, many of which I consider my friends, and began to realize my calling in the scientific world. ScienceOnline 2013 is just a few weeks away and I’m gearing up for Round 2. If you’re going to be there, make sure you stop by the Open Notebook Session, or find me and say hi!
  • Science at Risk Meeting – Because of Scio12 I met a few scientists that are employed by the Library of Congress. They held a special invite meeting in June to gauge the scope of online science and to brainstorm ideas for archiving online scientific information. I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak about open notebook science, and weigh in on how science publication will proceed and how daunting science archiving will be.
  • #SciFund Challenge Round 2 – At some point I learned about the #SciFund Challenge after inquiring about crowdfunding endeavors for science. At that time I had missed the first round and quickly applied for the second round. I was accepted to participate and launched my project to raise $2000 for open science. I was extremely humbled when I hit my goal and managed to raise more than my target. Ever since I’ve been trying to support future challenge participants and hope to continue to do so with Rounds 4 to infinity!
  • The Open IGERT – Ever since I’ve become an advocate for open science and open notebook science, I’ve been met with opposition regarding the survivability of ONS. Lots of scientists are interested in pursuing open science, but no one is ready to participate. I hope to change that and cowrote an NSF IGERT grant that would fund graduate students to participate in an open science environment. The results of the grant should be arriving any day now, and if our grant gets accepted then the scientific world is going to change.
  • Physics 308L Junior Lab – I was asked to TA the Electronics Junior Lab course with Steve and he pretty much gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted. So we told the students they would have to use open notebooks but were free to do just about whatever they needed to complete the labs, we would guide them and show them some useful ways to contribute. The result was a fun lab experience full of real-world skill development, and was an experience that I’ll never forget.

Fun Stats:

  • This notebook has had over 16,000 hits since its inception in August of 2011!
  • OpenPCR (or some form of that) has been the most common search term used to access this notebook. But searches looking for anything deuterium related greatly surpass that total. Every now and then I get a hit for “water msds,” which always gives me a good chuckle.
  • 18% of traffic here comes from direct traffic (ie people typing the url into their browser), that’s over 1400 people! Surprisingly that’s more than the visits via Social Media which is just under 1400 visits, most of which comes from Twitter.
  • I have had visitors from every US state and from most countries (Google Analytics doesn’t easily tell me how many), most of which come from the US. And I’m happy to announce that 20% of my visitors return for seconds! Thank you!

2012 is in the books and 2013 is just underway. I have a lot in store for this year and I thank all of you for your contributions. Happy New Year!