ScienceOnline 2012 – a whole new way to generate ideas by getting the audience to talk!

Today I attended my first ever ScienceOnline conference held at the NC state campus in Raleigh, NC. This is about as far from the norm for me as is possible in a conference. This was not a traditional pay per view affair in which you are bombarded from 8am to 5pm by 30 min talk followed by more talks selling something whether an idea, a service or a product..today was something different..OK there was a keynote which kicked off the day but there were 4 x 1hr sessions that started with a mini intro and lots of audience participation.

The meeting was composed of educators, librarians scientists, journalists, science writers, etc…so this was not a focused meeting on toxicology or chemistry by any stretch of the imagination. The latter being my usual conference topics.

The overriding sense I have is that I learnt some new things, but more than that I met some interesting people along the way. I have never been in a room of librarians ( and others) before discussing how they could create the next generation of open scientists. I do not think they came up with a plan but it was a good discussion. Kind of akin to asking a room full of folks how they would promote peace in the world – lots of ideas but it’s a difficult problem to solve in an hour.

A couple of sessions had folks drawing fancy pictures that summarized the discussion that will be posted online..nice idea.

So I attended sessions on Open Notebook Science, dealing with data and one  on investigative reporters in which I learnt what questions you should ask an interviewee at the end ( is there anything I should have asked you?).

Looking forward to day 2 and synthesizing the ideas that were created in my head and on my iPad today. I wished every conference was like this in the diversity of attendees and topics. If only I could do my science by attending such events.  Perhaps that could be a session next year ” doing science at conferences”. Oops ” doing open notebook science at conferences”.

A big thanks to Russ Campbell at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for giving me the opportunity to spread my open science wings!

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  1. Greta Beekhuis says:

    Wonderful to get this insiders view of the sold out conference! How can we put this in to practice at the upcoming InformEx Conference?

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