2012 was a true turning point in many ways. One was that I was very fortunate to attend and participate in Science Online 2012. I wrote about it during and after. The meeting was inspirational because of the topics, the format being highly participatory, the people being very friendly and diverse range of interests. I came away with a huge number of people to follow on Twitter and blogs etc (and my life has been enriched by spending time following them), but also offline interactions have also been terrific e.g. I worked with the creative Kalliopi Monoyios who produced a new logo for scientistsdb, and I was fortunate to get a ticket from the very generous David Kroll to visit a building which gave me chance to write about some amazing architecture (which does not happen often). I also met folks like Walter Jessen and we subsequently caught up again at another conference and checked out a poster he was showing ( I was referenced on it so that was funny!)..And all the inspiring folks involved with open science..I even met Mark Hahnel and have been using FigShare ever since (and wearing the T-shirt – thanks mate).
I was however a Science Online newbie and I am not a very good newbie at anything. Yes I am kind of geeky (and have been since my first pair of spectacles at 18 months- according to my folks) but not in a social, hipster or any other sort of way. OK I admit it, I am shy around new folks and will readily hide in a corner with a book or iPad rather than make eye contact. I did still manage to meet folks over meals and breaks etc..and generally when I get out of my shell its not so bad..As a local with a family I also found one thing impossible to do and that did not help on the social networking side. This will make you laugh but I skipped all the evening events (I know I missed the best bits right?). Why?, well here is my weak rationale. When I go away to a conference (which is 3-4 times a year) I normally have no choice but go along for the ride, but having a conference on my backdoor, so to speak, I could not bring myself to go to the conference all day and then do all the social stuff at night. Call me antisocial etc, but having 2 very young children and a wife who also works, it just did not seem right to be absent and return home to sleep and have breakfast. Actually while writing this it also still feels weird.
Science online 2013 will be different for many reasons. First I am no longer a newbie – Yay! so I am looking forward to catching up with the folks I met and meeting new ones – I promise to be a bit more outgoing. I will also be helping Antony Williams with a session discussing “leading scientists to openness“. Third, I have “permission” to attend the evening social activities so I will tag along if you will have me Science Online 2013.
So if you have any ideas or topics we can discuss for leading scientists into openness please throw them my way. I have to admit I am very drug discovery focused so if I could get out of that “comfort zone” also that would be a huge achievement.
Finally if you are a Science online NEWBIE there will be events to make you feel at home and I look forward to meeting you all.