Category Archives: Conferences

#scio12 business cards from day 1

I’ve met some cool people and exchanged information with some. As kind of a thank you for sharing with me and let’s do something together, I’m going to share the names of the people who’ve provided me with contact info, tell a little of what they do and send them some hits! What a great world it is…

  • Perrin Ireland (@experrinment) – Perrin is the scio12 science scribe-r and taught a bunch of us the ways of sketch noting, which is basically visually representing ideas in a sort of storyboard way. It’s the most beautiful brain dump I’ve ever seen. I’ll have a few of these by the end of the conference and I’ll be sharing those with you all.
  • Brian Glanz (@brianglanz) – Brian was in my session about ONS and approached me afterward to talk about the viability of ONS for all scientists. I think there are some good things in our future…
  • Amy Teitel (@astVintageSpace) – I met Amy this morning and we talked at length in the afternoon. She’s a promising blogger/writer that has tons of fascinating stories about the history of space flight. I promised her awesome business cards. Follow her on twitter and talk with her to show her that Twitter is useful after all.
  • Walter Jessen (@wjjessen) – I also met Walter this morning. He promised to introduce me to someone and I really want to know who this person is. The mystery is killing me. We talked a lot about ONS and open science and how cool it really is.
  • I also met a woman named Deb at the Museum of Natural Sciences. I didn’t get her last name, but her and her colleagues are doing some pretty awesome outreach experiments with the local community. I told her about ONS and she seemed really excited to setup something in this regard for her program. We’ll be talking I’m sure…

Tomorrow I expect to meet a ton more people and get a ton more cards. At which point I will share more links with you all. Until then…

Ideas about ONS spawned from #scio12 conversations

…that I plan to expand upon in future posts.

Talking with everyone about open science face-to-face is super exciting. It’s one thing to hear all the activity online, but to see that others are as excited about this stuff as I am is sheerly amazing. And from this excitement many ideas have come to surface. Not all of them are hashed out, but they are all worth mentioning and hopefully expanding upon. Here are some things that have been mentioned:

  • Making ONS viable for the common scientist is a pretty big hurdle. Not only is it already challenging to get PI’s to allow young scientists to go open access, but it is overwhelming to get into with all the options available. The viability of ONS is extremely important to me and I think WordPress is going to be key.
  • An overlooked key aspect of ONS is the fact that every part of a project is traceable. From the data you can discover the methods to how the data was acquired and analyzed. How many scientists look at a figure and wonder how a researcher reaches those conclusions? I’m guessing a lot, and ONS removes the question marks.
  • Signal to noise… posting all data and methods creates a lot of information in one location. How are others supposed to find the meaningful results in the sea of data? This is one of the reasons that I wrote the post about effective design and navigation in a notebook. If users can’t find the information they need immediately, then the information is almost useless. Curating and organizing this data takes time, but in the end is worth it and makes you a much better scientist!
  • I think citizen science can be incorporated into ONS. Why should notebooks contain only science done in labs? Why can’t notebooks be used to engage not just the scientific community, but also the local or global community?
  • Engaging the scientific community, in general, is a major obstacle. Why do people frequently comment on blogs and websites, but scientists refuse to leave comments on peer reviewed papers or fact based web pages? What is the barrier and how can it be removed?
  • Mark Hahnel (of FigShare fame) suggested a site that lists the success of ONS. anyone?
  • And as an umbrella to that, why isn’t there a site that is a repository for all the open notebooks in the world. A live feed of posts from these notebooks seems very feasible and could be a way to organize the movement of open notebook science. could be a thing…
  • Curating notebooks is a major concern to me. Scientific data is obviously important, and the internet is a very dynamic place. Trusting that resources will be around long term is a concern and even more so for the self-hosted guys (like myself). Can there be a place that guarantees the longevity of notebooks? Talking with Brian Glanz of Open Science Foundation has revealed that business seem to have more sway in universities than understood, because otherwise why wouldn’t libraries take up the cause?

I’m sure there is a lot that I’m forgetting, but these were the biggest ideas that I can think of.  Some of this stuff is in need of a solution. This will come in time, but I hope to be part of the solution.

In addition to that, the spirit of the conference has given me two very interesting ideas:

  1. An unclass about open notebook science. The idea of the unconference is to spark discussion amongst peers and I think in the context of ONS this can be done in a class. Right now there is no wrong way to do an open notebook, so the first unclass will have to be a discussion about what are the core values of ONS and open science in general. The students would then be given complete freedom to choose the notebooking medium that they want, and classes would engage discussion about what are the benefits and downfalls of their chosen medium. Discussions would then evolve into problems with ONS and successes of it as well. This could be really awesome since there would be a mini community of notebookers and they could all learn from each other. It would be a small scale case study of the proliferation of notebooks! I think I’ve convinced myself to do this now!
  2. A class or two on effective communication in science. A lot of this notebook is geared toward inclusive information, and by that I mean I always explain things as simply as possible so that anyone can understand what I mean (or at least I try to). I would like to talk about principles of design and writing that I’ve learned over the years from being a graphic designer and a blogger and apply them to the scientific setting. Teaching this to the next level of scientists will ensure that the future of science is in good hands. In much the same way that journals brought a change in scientific culture over 400 years ago, these principles can take science to a whole new level. Everyone here at ScienceOnline gets it, why doesn’t the rest of the scientific community?

As always feel free to leave your thought below. I completely encourage criticism of any sort!

Quick #scio12 Day 1 Recap

I don’t have much time right now, because I’m about to head to the reception but Day 1 here at ScienceOnline 2012 was simply amazing. I’ve already met a ton of cool people, and I’ve finally gotten face-to-face with a bunch others who I’ve known through online interactions.

This morning’s keynote was fabulous, and my first session of the day was ScienceScribe 2.0 which was a art for science kind of “presentation.” It was more like a workshop than anything, but was super fun. I even got the lecturer to visual-note my open notebook science session.

I have a bunch of pictures from today, but somehow have no way to get them on my laptop. So pictures will have to be posted when I return to ABQ.

Remember to follow ScienceOnline on twitter by searching #scio12 and me in particular by  following @thescienceofant.

#scio12 ONS discussion: What do you want to talk about?

I’ve been mind mapping like mad for the ONS session on Thursday, and I’ve come up with topics that I find interesting with some questions to engage the community. You can check that out here: Mindmap.

But now I want to know what you have in mind. What do you think about ONS and its future? What do you want to learn about ONS? What can ONS do for you? And why did you start/thinking about starting an open notebook? Do you even like open notebooks? Do you even like notebooks?

So many questions, but fret not because there is a ton of time until the session and we can talk about it all we want after then as well. Just let me know either in the comments, or on Twitter: @Thescienceofant


#scio12 ONS session discussion: A Facebook for Science

I have talked to my friend about this in the past but the hardest thing about open science is that there is no social network built around science and that the ones that do exist don’t allow for much room to play. Let’s take a quick look at what’s out there and what their drawbacks are:

  • FriendFeed – to me this was the best of the social networks when it came to science. The live conversations were great and you could create rooms and groups and manipulate them at will. I would make a room to take live notes in and post them in my open notebook. The only drawback was that Facebook bought them and stole all the features to put into Facebook (somehow making Facebook worse at the time) and then seemingly left friendfeed for dead.
  • Google+ – brand new and seems a lot like friendfeed. The biggest issue is that all posting to Google+ requires manual entry. I personally don’t have a lot of time to be posting all my notes to the Plus, so my activity there is minimal. But if they ever get that fixed I could see it surpassing friendfeed in terms of usability.
  • Twitter – used a lot by a lot of people and I still don’t understand why. Tracking information around twitter is a mess and requires so much attention that it almost isn’t worth it. If information didn’t spread so quickly via Twitter I would despise the site (but not the people that follow me and that I follow!). Not only that but analyzing twitter traffic still isn’t up to par as I’ve discovered a lot in my notebook.
  • Facebook – I really want to compare Google+ and Facebook, but you can’t. To me they are so different that it’s apples and oranges. Both are social places, but I refuse to use Facebook to post information because there is no way to filter to the right groups (yet). The Plus has circles which greatly helps in this regard. But Facebook allows me to make groups and pages and automate posting information to those places making that feature way better than the Plus.

I don’t really use anything other than those 4 so if someone out there has any information to add to what I just mentioned or uses something other than the big 4 let me hear it!

So with all that said, will there ever be a social site that is built around science? One of the hardest things for me (and others I suppose) is trying to find other open scientists and other open notebooks.

In ScienceBook (to be completely unclever) I imagine having a repository of open notebooks that makes browsing simple. There would be an RSS feed that shows the latest posts from all the notebooks and you can subscribe to whatever you want to pick and choose what you want to read.

But what else would be useful? Let’s get the conversation going here and keep it going in the scio12 session on Thursday at 1:30pm.

Planning For #Scio12: Open Notebook Science Discussion

This is the week of the greatest conference in the world: Science Online 2012! I’ve never been but I’ve heard amazing things about it and I can’t wait to go, hence my personal declaration. Not only will I be going, but I’m also co-hosting the Open Notebook Science session with Jean-Claude Bradley. The session is on Thursday at 1:30pm.

Since this is my first time attending Scio12 (as it is lovingly referred to on twitter) and unconferences in general (are there other unconferences?) I have a lot to adjust to. Another issue is that my session is on the first day so I will only be able to get a feel of the conference very briefly before I’m up.

But I’m not worried. From what I’ve been told I’m just supposed to lead a discussion. And I’m excellent at doing that. I really don’t enjoy the sound of my voice for an hour and I much prefer to engage my audience. In this format the audience isn’t really an audience, but rather a collection of peers who have valuable information to share.

And share we will!

So for the next three days I am going to be planning what I would like to share with the audience and what I hope to learn from those in the session. I’ll make a mindmap that will be live updated and from time to time I’ll ask some pre-questions to try and build some steam for the session.

Currently here is the session plan:

We will discuss the semantic representation of Open Lab Notebooks and automated discovery by social mapping of ONS content. An example of merging ONS datasets with “Dark Open Science Contributors” – companies and government agencies that will donate large amounts of data to the public domain – if they are asked – will be presented. (e.g.Alfa Aesar and EPA donate Open Melting Point data ). We will also discuss the variety of electronic platforms for ONS and how to apply them in undergraduate science lab courses.

This plan was made with JC Bradley and Steve Koch, but Koch won’t be able to attend and I’m filling in.

Personally I’d like to discuss how to make ONS both viable for most scientists, and how to engage scientists to participate in ONS. Let’s face it, most people read and contribute to blogs daily. But open notebooks in my experience receive very little attention. I’ve had posts record hundreds of hits, but those same posts have 1 or 2 comments.

How do we get others to engage in the conversation? How do we get others to start their own notebooks? How do we prove that ONS isn’t just some fad, but is required for long-term scientific health?

And how do I get people going to Scio12 to comment on this post to start the conversation for the session before we even step foot in the room?