Monday, January 21, 2008

An additional feeler for PSB

In an earlier post, I mentioned the possibility of submitting a proposal to PSB for a session on Open Science. Since then, I've gotten some informal feedback that the organizing committee is interested in the idea, but needs more information. The advice I received was to submit a regular session proposal detailing what kind of papers are expected and the people who would potentially participate. Essentially, the topic needs to be able to attract enough substantial, scientific papers for the committee to be convinced of its merit. Part of the process will involve soliciting paper submissions from specific people known to be working in the field.

On Cameron Neylon's blog, the point was made that PSB is an expensive conference to attend, and for this reason it could be a non-optimal choice for an Open Science meeting. However, if there are no strong objections to having multiple meetings on Open Science in the next year or two (if there are, then that is definitely worth discussing!), then we have nothing to lose (and probably some to gain) from submitting a proposal to (and if all goes well, hosting a session at) PSB. As Pedro Beltrao points out, it doesn't hurt to gain more exposure, even if it ends up being just a short tutorial. Also, I've been seeing a lot of Open Science activity in the US and Europe, but have yet to catch wind of it elsewhere; PSB, being located in the Pacific, draws a lot of attendees from Asia and Oceania, and it would be interesting to see what efforts and issues regarding Open Science are happening there.

So my big questions are these:

1. What should be the focus of this session on Open Science? (first, frame it as a traditional PSB session, then perhaps as a "creative" session)
2. What kind of substantial/technical/research papers can be written about Open Science?
3. Who are the major players in the field? Who would the session chair invite to submit a paper?
4. Who is willing to help write/organize the actual proposal and session?

But my most important question is this: Is anyone involved in the field interested in chairing this session?

Being a novice grad student who has very little experience with Open Science (this blog is it so far, and it only started a week ago!), I feel that such a session would be much more effective with a more senior Open Science advocate as chair. One of the duties of the session chair is to give a tutorial on the subject, another reason why someone with more experience would be better suited to this role.

Again, the deadline for session proposals is Feb 8th, so if it is going to happen, it will have to happen pretty fast. The community has already shown that bigger things (a grant proposal) can be accomplished in less time (a week), so I am not worried about getting it done if a consensus is reached.

If you have any answers or suggestions for the above 4 questions or about the session in general, and especially if you are interested in chairing, please respond to this post or email me!

* Edit: I originally mixed up Cameron's blog (Science in the Open) with JC Bradley's blog (UsefulChemistry), and have corrected it. Apologies to both!

1 comment:

Jean-Claude Bradley said...

Shirley I've posted this comment on Cameron's blog:

Shirley - no problem for the mix-up :)

I think there is an opportunity for some type of session on Open Science relating to biocomputing.

The first question I have is how many people who were already planning to attend could contribute? If the number is not great then maybe a joint session might make sense this time around.

I also have a concern about the requirement for submitting full papers. I usually avoid conference symposia where full papers are required to participate and I suspect many other do as well. It is hard enough to find time to write regular full papers and, at least in my field, symposium proceedings don't count much in our academic evaluation. There is also the issue of giving up copyright to the conference publisher and that may be a concern for some of your target participants.
What I don't have a problem doing is recording my talk and publishing the transcript. That solves the problem of sharing the benefit of the symposium for those who can't attend.