Science Online London 2009: the sessions

I attended Science Online London 2009 on Saturday.

As I mentioned before, I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to make the social events before or after. Because I don’t actually work in science it’s not so important for me to network, but it is fun.

The sessions I did attend were interesting, though. Highlights for me:

  • Legal and Ethical Aspects of Science Blogging. I’d heard a lot of this before at a London Bloggers Meetup last year, but it’s always good to hear real-life case examples.
  • Online communication of science by institutions and organizations. I liked hearing what the Nobel org, Cancer Research UK, and Ask a Biologist do to overcome organisational inertia and measure what success is for each of their online ventures.
  • Citizen science – How the web enables anyone to be a scientist. Good talks from people from Wikipedia and GalaxyZoo on how most contributors are amateurs who like being part of something original.
  • Some participants attended via Second Life, and this worked better than I thought it might.

You can get some other views on the conference from Nature Network or from checking out Twitter.

Science Online London 2009

Tomorrow I’m off to Science Online London 2009, the follow-up to Science Blogging 2008 that I attended last year. I’m looking forward to it.

I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to make the pre-conf pub crawl last night. I won’t be able to stay after to hob-nob with folks, either, so I’ll try to make the most of the daytime sessions.

Here are the programme sessions I’m planning to attend:

Blogging for impact
Dave Munger, Daniel MacArthur
Can blogging help your next grant proposal and if so, how? How can blogging be used to increase the visibility and impact of published research? Tips and tools on how to balance the competing demands of blogging and a scientific career, and how best to use blogging as a career-boosting activity.

Legal and Ethical Aspects of Science Blogging
Petra Boynton, David Allen Green (“Jack of Kent”)
Science blogging exists within a ethical and legal framework. This session, presented by two prominent bloggers, will chart the legal and ethical boundaries of blogging and what you can – and cannot – blog about. Topics to be covered include professional obligations, confidentiality and privacy, and libel and copyright. The session will also address your personal wellbeing in the face of any potential complaints and legal threats, and also how to engage with blog comments in a professional manner.

Breakout 2: Online communication of science by institutions and organizations
Ed Yong, Henry Scowcroft, Paolo Viscardi, Simon Frantz
How can research and educational outreach organizations use online tools such as blogs, Twitter, etc. to communicate science? In this audience participation session, the speakers will use real-world examples to spark discussion about some of the issues involved, including overcoming resistance in the institution, tone of voice, and constraints around talking about animal research or other sensitive topics.

Cat herding: The challenges and rewards of managing online scientific communities
Arikia Millikan, Corie Lok, Ijad Madisch
This session will provide you with an inside look into how online science communities are built and maintained. We will discuss how to manage expectations, social/cultural issues, the role of moderation, differences between science communities and ‘other communities’, and how to encourage diversity/debate whilst maintaining some sort of order. You’ll come away with tips on how to successfully build community and maintain it throughout flame wars and other tribulations.

Breakout 4: Citizen science – How the web enables anyone to be a scientist
Arfon Smith, Mike Peel
How can citizens be involved in doing and communicating science? We’ll take a look at practical examples from Galaxy Zoo, BioBlitz Bristol, and Wikipedia and discuss the obstacles and potential.