Christina's LIS Rant
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
  ASIST2007: Opening Science to All
Opening Science for All
Phil Edwards (moderator)

Bora Zivkovic, PLOS One Community Manager, doctoral student at UNC (chronobiology), biology adjunct NC Wesleyan, Blog Around the Clock.

• what is a science blog? a blog written about science? a blog written by a scientist or both?
• functions
o public communication of science
o media watchdog for how media portrays science (mismatch btwn media and real article and what it really says)
o blogs in the classroom
o combating pseudoscience, and also trying to get higher in results
o affecting policy
o publish data or research reports (smaller than the “least publishable unit”)
• topics
o humorous takes
o history/philosophy/sociology of science
o science
• blog carnivals
• magazine/journal/publisher blogs (SciAm, Seed, Nature, PLOS, etc)

(Info about PLOSone, all areas of science, not selective, peer reviewed for writing and general stuff, and then it’s possible to annotate, comment, trackback, etc.)
science bloggers write comments very differently than do non-blogging scientist. Science bloggers write very short blunt comments while other scientist write diplomatic letters to the editor with citations and everything

Jean-Claude Bradley, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Drexel, Useful Chem project, Open Notebook science
• traditional model with only the scientist and her supervisor seeing the lab notebook, you’ll still miss a lot of good science that will never make it to the journal literature
• traditional journal articles, you can get from your library
• open access journals that are available to all but are still finished works and require authors to pay

• increasing automation of science, moving to human system of computer agents and machines
• agents read/write with zero cost (whether the agents be human or computer)

• selected malaria – neglected, very much needed, and pharma companies are not actively trying to commercialize

• a blog about the project
• a blog about the molecules
• a blog about the experiments

• found that the blog wasn’t good for organizing things so started a wiki
• reports things that didn’t work
• records changes, each experiment one page, can attribute changes
• 3rd party time stamps on experiment versions
• it’s indexed and there’s proof of priority so actually probably safer than keeping quiet (as far as “are you afraid of being scooped”
• tag using InChI, which google can index
• raw data through JSpecView – allows you to zoom in and see the details, reviewers and readers can’t judge accuracy of reported results in the literature bcs can’t see the data. This allows you to see the details
• ChemSpider crawls, and allows you to do substructure searching
• his goal is not to have a server at all
• has made connections with scientists who do related research both docking studies and efficacy against malarial enzymes (forgive the scientific inaccuracy, the fault is mine)
• mailing lists, too
• posters in second life, see: scifooliveson.wikispaces.com

question from audience: in a gov’t lab, trying to sell to scientific directors
J-C B – you won’t really be able to convince people, so you have to talk to the people who are willing and work with them. It doesn’t happen in a day, it took a lot of work

q: how hard is it to handle the graphics?
J-C B – open source software and it works really well, and you can just drag it across

Janet Stemwedel, Philosophy, San Jose State, Adventures in Ethics and Science
Social and Scientific Implications of Science Blogs
Why the web 2.0 tools might help scientist on their own rights (without considerations of social implications to the community)

Science – build scientific knowledge
scientific communication
- sharing results
- training new scientists

scientific communication
- asking non-scientists for resources
- sharing vital info with the public

traditional methods
journal article – long timescale, incentive to be secretive (about methods and findings – maybe accidentally leave out important details), competing interests of reviewers
conference presentations – shorter timescale, ephemeral, you have to be there to participate
press releases, popular presentations – no real back and forth (scientist proclaims, audience tries to understand), at the mercy of journalists, challenges of communicating and translating to a lay audience

knowledge building requires good communication
- see Longino, Science as Social Knowledge [excellent book, i agree]
- objectivity achieved by comparing results/interpretations
- interdisciplinary
- avoiding duplication and dead-ends (replication good, duplication bad, how do you tell the difference)

Worries about the traditional channels
- after work is complete, less back and forth, less input while you’re at it
- amount of information that isn’t reported, what didn’t work

Promising features of blogs
- very short
- less ephemeral, asynchronous, over other blogs
- can involve people from various backgrounds
- free of some of the pitfalls of peer review (conservative)

- quality control
- perhaps peer review isn’t as good as it could be, and there’s not a whole lot of reward for scientist to do peer review, it’s squeezed in
- window into knowledge building stages, science as an on-going process

Community within science
- training in apprenticeship and mentorship in how to engage in the community (socialization to a certain extent)
- talking explicitly about how science works
- is there anyone else like me?
- build a virtual community

audience of the willing
- will anyone read this?
- anyone will read this!

- protecting anonymity, but at the risk of lessening authority

- can we shift the culture: more cooperation, more mentoring, better discussions of community norms and discussions
- transparency
- scientists as humans with lives

--- drawing ---
question: publication after posting
J-CB this is a really big concern if you’re interested in IP. We’re not, but I do have patents so I know about that. If you are interested, you shouldn’t do open notebook science. You can do a provisional patent, but that’s a lot of work.

question: talking about scientists standing alone, but what’s the role of the institution?
JS universities are resistant to change, part of the problem comes from judging productivity, etc., by counting number of publications and grant money won. But this can’t change until people who agree there’s a problem move on to the other side of the line.

questions: if you had to a key research question or area that you think is important to investigate what would it be? in terms of the research on how to use blogs and wikis to support science (from JP from Maryland)
JS one of the issues, where do scientists learn how to be a good scientist, how do they learn about ethics and being part of the community. How can blog enable discussions about what it is to be a good scientists
J-CB one of the byproducts of open notebook is to see how science is done. One of the things I’m learning, when others try this, about the assumptions I made about how to do science, that science is done differently elsewhere.
BZ it is a software, publication of a scientific paper is not the end, but it has a life, post-publication peer review.

question from the audience (K.S. from Indiana): a lot of ethics lapses around record keeping, people were talking about electronic lab notebooks, but they haven’t caught on in academy for various reasons. One thought was that blogs could help train new scientists in records can you speak to this
J-CB blogs enable me to mentor the student several times a day because it’s all online. It is what it is, from an undergraduate. Anyone in the world can mentor the student who has competence in that area
JS from cold hearted experience in the lab, electronic lab notebooks are scary because disks can get clobbered, but something on the network is backed up and stable
J-CB can also back up by zip with a button for the wiki

question: archival issues, assignment of credit and assignment of authority, his reviewers for a paper rejected a citation to Shirky’s Ontology article (bleh)
BZ well not every scientific paper is worth the paper its typed on. New guidance on how to cite blog posts in medical papers (from NLM, probably?). Comments for PLOS get DOIs, so you can cite them. What is a unit in scientific literature is getting more ambitious.
J-CB so if you keep your copyright, then you can submit things to Nature Preceedings and get a DOI and it doesn’t have peer review, but it does have editorial review
JS we have to keep making the argument

question: a couple of decades ago, we thought that maybe the internet would help scientists on the periphery. Has this reinforced the stratification. J-C have you been able to expand the network farther?
J-CB I’m willing to work with anyone who is willing to share data, but it might be only bigger institutions that might have
JS huge portion of blogosphere about women scientists blogging anonymously, talking about how to stay in and deal with issues. These women are getting support they wouldn’t have been

-- but if all that counts is the discovery
JS but if the women all decide to give up and leave, then… what women need is not help with the science, but help dealing with the problems and issues with being a woman in a male-dominated field.
BZ open access publishing is essential for globalization of science . PLOS’s latest journal is Neglected Tropical Diseases.
(so sorry I forgot this was PLOS - I told someone it was BioMed Central, oops!)

UPDATE: Links Bora showed are listed at: http://scienceblogs.com/clock/2007/10/opening_science_to_all_at_asis.php


Nice to see you again Christina!

The recorded session is now available
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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