Professional Development

ScienceOnline2010 Day 2 (Sunday)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 4:49 pm

The second, and last, day of ScieneOnline2010 started a bit later and more relaxed, as Saturday-only attendees and those with early flights (or long drives) decreased numbers somewhat. The half-day was book-ended by two more yummy meals, with lunch once again featuring one of my favorite area restaurants, Mediterranean Deli. If this conference’s sessions weren’t as great as they are, I still might consider going just for the awesome food…but fortunately I get both!

There were three final sessions Sunday morning; links and highlights are below. I’m still processing the final session, but it was by far the one that generated the most audience engagement, which isn’t surprising given its topic (civility) and what happened (a live demonstration of how debates can quickly become inflamed and uncivil). As before, if you have questions or need clarification/more info, ask!

Broader Impact Done RightKaren James, Kevin Zelnio, Miriam Goldstein, Jeff Ives and Beth Beck

  • broader impact, outreach & education, public engagement & learning are all phrases for grant requirements that funded research disseminate beyond the lab and journals
  • helps to designate people to keep outreach going; sometimes considered outside the mission of research so it can be hard to get researchers engaged
  • keeping sustained online update on projects will result in intended AND unintended benefits
  • be aware of jargon: sometimes it can be useful as a conversation-starter, sometimes it’s a roadblock to understanding
  • recommended that media training be part of a career development program for scientists, grad students
  • if blogging from the field, don’t make assumptions about technology!
  • home internet connections in poor communities aren’t common, but cell phones are pervasive, so think about info distribution along compatible channels
  • Q: cool field research projects are great, but how do you popularize every-day lab science? A: don’t make assumptions that people don’t care – many are fascinated by lab activities, especially if you share your passion!

Article-level metricsPeter Binfield

(NOTE: I am not a fan of the deification bestowed upon traditional impact factors by many in academe, so I was biased toward liking author- or article-driven metrics heading into this session. I also generally am not one to get overly excited about data. But the data shared are BEAUTIFUL. Just saying…)

  • PLoS (Public Library of Science, largest OA non-profit publisher) developed article-level metrics (ALM) that move beyond the concept of the journal (which is where traditional impact factors (IF) are stuck)
  • “is this good chocolate?” [photo of heart-shaped chocolate box] vs. “is this bad chocolate?” [photo of chocolate bars] – can only determine by tasting the chocolate, not by the packaging
  • journals are just pretty boxes: might indicate that contents are good, but certainly not the only way to tell
  • worth of papers – and hence individuals – often based on IF which is journal-level not article-level
  • ALM could include citations, web use, expert ratings, social bookmarking, community rating, media/blog coverage, commenting activity
    • essentially a basket of individual metrics, all informative at some level, and collectively hard to “game”
  • ALM not just about scholarly evaluation but also way to filter and discover content
  • IF = The Flintstones, ALM = The Jetsons
  • really haven’t had negative reaction from authors, although if ALM replicated widely authors who rely on IF and think they have weight because they publish in high IF journals may be in for a rude surprise
  • authors and readers don’t yet have a good context for judging usefulness, so PLoS provides journal-level metrics on average downloads to help frame ALM
  • still have a lot to do, but ALM could be the start of something important in scholarly publishing

Online Civility and Its (Muppethugging) DiscontentsJanet Stemwedel, Sheril Kirshenbaum and Dr.Isis

(NOTE: Some of the links from the wiki page include language NSFW.)

  • definition of civility at your site is personal
  • know your audience and conduct appropriately
  • only 18% of people claim to know a scientist personally; media is warping perceptions
  • civility online impacts credibility offline
  • civility does not necessarily equal politeness: you can say something in polite language that is uncivil
  • a good working definition of civility might be to take each other seriously, assume good faith, and not immediately dismiss
  • language that makes people feel unwelcome: technical, jargon, profane, religious
  • respect doesn’t eliminate disagreement, it sparks deeper engagement
  • sometimes disengagement is the way to go, but at other times, silence runs the risk of being read as assent
  • danger of conflating incivility with heated discussion in blogosphere
  • groundrules will shape people’s perception of their ability to interact, so must think about how and if to lay them

2 Responses to “ScienceOnline2010 Day 2 (Sunday)”

  1. good chocolate, bad chocolate; uncivil civility,
    sounds like an awesome conference!

  2. It is! SciO is consistently a fabulous conference, getting me really energized, and it’s hard to beat the price and location.


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