Last March we were super-excited to announce a new monthly discussion series called Science Online NYC (SoNYC) of which Lou Woodley from nature.com is a co-organiser, along with John Timmer of Ars Technica and Jeanne Garbarino and Joe Bonner at Rockefeller University. Now, a year later, we can share details of how the SoNYC model is spreading to other cities!
A bit of background…
There are two big events in the conference calendar for science communicators, educators and those interested in how science is carried out and communicated via the Internet. The first of these is the original ScienceOnline unconference which takes place in North Carolina every January. Organised by Bora Zivkovic, Anton Zuiker and Karyn Traphagen, the event takes place over several days, bringing together more than 400 attendees. You can read Bora’s wrap-up of this year’s event to find out more.
Nature.com also organises an annual conference, Science Online London, which takes place over 2 days every autumn and focuses not just on science communication but also online tools for scientists. You can watch videos from last year’s conference and read the Storifys of each session here and stay tuned for details of this year’s event which are coming soon.
The SoNYC vision
SoNYC was founded to bridge the gap between these two big annual events. We’ve seen that the landscape of science communication is a dynamic and engaging place to be, and wanted to provide a regular forum for discussing topics as they crop up. Our format is intended to be as inclusive as possible; while we do invite panelists to seed the discussions, they’re limited to providing 5-7 minute conversational appetizers, describing a case study, new tool or thesis for debate and then the rest of the evening is based around the in-person and online audiences leading the conversations. At present, SoNYC has a rotating 3-monthly editorial cycle to ensure we cover all angles of science online:
Month 1: Science communication and outreach (e.g. Communicating complex and controversial topics; Reaching the niches: connecting under-represented groups in science; Matching mediums and messengers to meet the masses; Beyond a trend: enhancing science communication with social media)
Month 2: Digital publishing, online tools for scientists (e.g. Are scientists anti-social when it comes to adopting online tools for science?; Advanced ebooks and book apps; Thinking digital: giving your research more reach and making sure others can find it)
All SoNYC events are live-streamed and the videos are archived so that anyone can follow along, whether you’re in NYC or not. We also tweet enthusiastically on the #sonyc hashtag and create Storifys of the online conversations around each event. Recently, we’ve also been providing preview posts for each event, where we start to explore the month’s topic in advance of the in-person discussions. Search our archive of blog posts to find out more.
Announcing Science Online Seattle!
We are delighted to expand the broad SoNYC model to other locations in the US and Canada this year. The first new discussion series will take place in Seattle (#SoSEA) and is co-organised by Liz Neeley, Jen Davison and Brian Glanz. Their first event is taking place on Monday April 16th and will discuss:
Shared Science: new realities for research and outreach in a networked world
The digital age is profoundly reshaping our information landscape, challenging us with an unprecedented opportunity to transform how we conduct and communicate research. Science Online Seattle will kick off with an exploration of what exactly it means to do science in a digital world. How does it work? Who is involved? What are their incentives? Where do we go from here? Join us as we explore how our worlds are changing and the new realities and future possibilities for science online.
Lisa Graumlich, UW College of the Environment. Lisa is the Dean of a college that brings together some 200 faculty from a diverse set of scientific disciplines. She will talk about her vision for opening up the science of the University of Washington College of the Environment.
Firas Khatib and Seth Cooper, Foldit. Firas is a biomedical research scientist and Seth is creative director of the Center for Game Science at UW. They’ll talk about the stories behind the overwhelming success of Foldit.
If you can’t attend in person, follow the conversations on Twitter using the #SoSEA hashtag!
The SoSEA organisers
Jen Davison – Jennifer Davison is a research scientist in the College of the Environment at the University of Washington. Housed in the Dean’s Office, Jen works to accelerate the communication of science, both within the College and from the College to its surrounding communities. Jen develops and facilitates collaborative initiatives and new media platforms to communicate the process and outcomes of the College’s scientific research. She also does her own research, into the effects of climate change on large landscapes. Before joining the College of the Environment, Jen studied landscape and community dynamics and their responses to environmental change at the University of Arizona. She also spent many summers as a river guide, exploring and sharing the history, ecology and unique features of desert Southwest ecosystems. It was in these interactions that Jen found her passion for science communication. Her technophilia derives from her background in geospatial data analysis and visualization and her previous life as a software developer.
Brian Glanz – Brian Glanz is founder and director of the Open Science Federation, and creative technologies manager at the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR). These organizations share a mission of improving public understanding of science through new forms of education, meaningful public engagement, and increased accessibility of scientists and their science. The Federation focuses on development of open source technologies and organizing in support of the nascent Open Science movement. NWABR’s expressed mission is to improve understanding of biomedical research and its ethical conduct. At NWABR, Brian brings to bear his 15-year software career, with his own research centred on HCI and the web, on federal grants to improve science communications and education. Brian seeks also to deepen the ethical case for Open Science, rooted in its impact on our health. Open Science is of concern to every field, but with an emphasis on biomedical research Brian hopes to continue elevating it into mainstream conversation. Brian is @BrianGlanz.
SoSEA is just the first of several events we’ll be announcing this week – stay tuned for more details about the others!