July 26, 2010

Please Sir, I want some more Science!

Science Online London 2010 (soloconf)Science Online London (#solo10 September 3-4, 2010) is an annual gathering of people interested in the use of web technologies for scientific collaboration and communication.  The organisers at Mendeley, Nature Network and The British Library continue to do a great job of hosting this important gathering, now in its third year:

I’ve been the last two years (2008 and 2009), and it has been worth attending because of the mix speakers, delegates and topics covered. This year includes talks from:

See the impressive full programme here. Reading through the speaker list I wondered, where are all the scientists at science online this year? At the time of writing this, 12 of the 13 speakers are politicians, publishers or journalists with scientist Peter Murray-Rust the odd man out. I’ve nothing against politicians, publishers or journalists but it would be great to have a more balanced event this year. The UK is full of high-profile scientists with blogs who would probably jump at the opportunity to speak at this event. So:

Or as the skeptical Sid Rodrigues said “this looks like fun, needs more nerds though“…


  1. That is all nice and well Duncan, but it is somehow ignoring the fact that what drives most scientists is to actually DO science and not to blog about it….Sure, the exception proves the rule, but on the whole, the people that seem to predominantly engage in this activity are the “peripheral” scientists – the science associated infrastructuralists and informatics types (I count myself in that number). Honestly, I have so far derived very little value from “science blogging” (what is that anyway – a soapbox for advocacy of a certain type?, another peer review? etc.) What does it add to the act of doing science (open notebook science may be the only exception here – but even there the reward systems are not in place yet). And yes, thinking about scholarly communication is desperately necessary for scientists, but it is not DOING science. So I am not that surprised by the lack of science types there. Here’s some flamebait….I hope it gets the discussion going.

    Comment by Nico Adams — July 26, 2010 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  2. Duncan, you make a good point. There will of course be more scientists in the final program, but I agree with Nico that the conference is probably more about COMMUNICATING Science than DOING SCIENCE (disclaimer: I’m one of the conference organizers). Suggestion: spread the word among scientists, and we can have some very interesting unconference discussions on the Saturday of the conference.

    Comment by Martin Fenner — July 26, 2010 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

    • Martin, glad to hear you’ll be putting some Science back into Science Online. It does seem a shame that “communicating” and “doing” science are seen as two seperate things, because there is lots of overlap between the two. If you focus on the communication, you’re only getting half the story IMHO. There some interesting sessions to be had on wikiScience e.g. Molecular and Cellular Biology

      Comment by Duncan — July 28, 2010 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  3. @Nico couldn’t agree more. My comment along the same lines on Duncan’s post at NN: http://blogs.nature.com/duncan/2010/07/23/more-scientists-please#comment-61972 honestly, I’m confused these days about where to comment…

    Comment by Greg Tyrelle — July 28, 2010 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

  4. […] ff2 – Please Sir, I want some more Science! « O’Really? – https://duncan.hull.name/2010… […]

    Pingback by Lazy post: a Life Scientists best-of | What You’re Doing Is Rather Desperate — July 29, 2010 @ 8:10 am | Reply

  5. […] in the British Library. Recently Duncan Hull has highlighted that I am the only scientist. (https://duncan.hull.name/2010/07/26/solo10/ ). This has caught traction in the twittersphere. Help! What shall I do? I had probably planned to […]

    Pingback by Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - Science Online 2010: What shall I say? #solo2010 « petermr’s blog — July 30, 2010 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

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