Communities Happenings is a (usually) weekly post with news of interest to NPG’s online communities. The aim is to provide this info in one handy summary. Listings include tweetups and conferences which we’re attending and/or organising as well as new online tools, products or cool videos. We also occasionally flag up NPG special offers and competitions plus updates about NPG social media activities such as new accounts you might want to follow. Do let us know what you find most useful!
It was March of last year when we announced a new monthly discussion series called Science Online NYC (SoNYC), organised by Lou Woodley from nature.com, along with John Timmer of Ars Technica and Jeanne Garbarino and Joe Bonner of Rockefeller University.
SoNYC will soon celebrate its first birthday (you can read more about the celebrations here) and now, a year later, the SoNYC model is spreading to other cities! This week we will see the inaugural Science Online Seattle (SoSEA), Science Online Vancouver (SoVan) and Science Online Bay Area (SOBA).
The landscape of science communication is a dynamic and engaging place to be and the aim of SoNYC is to provide a regular forum for discussing topics related to communicating and carrying out science online. Expanding the SoNYC model to other locations in the US and Canada means that even more people can join in these valuable discussions.
The discussion series taking place in Seattle (#SoSEA) is co-organised by Liz Neeley, Jen Davison and Brian Glanz (you can find out more about the organisers here). Their first event is taking place today, Monday April 16th and will consider:
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 which 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.
- Brian Glanz, Open Science Federation. Brian will discuss reproducibility, extensibility, affordability, accessibility and science at the speed of the internet.
- 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 discussion series taking place in Vancouver is co-organised by Catherine Anderson, Peter Newbury and Sarah Chow, (you can find out more about the organisers here). The event is taking place at the TELUS World of Science on Thursday 19th April, from 19:00 to 21:00 and will discuss:
Where do you get your science?
Practically every day, the internet gives us another option for finding scientific information. In addition to peer-reviewed journals and mainstream media, we now read blogs and wield heaps of social media tools like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube. More sources publishing more content more frequently! How do we keep up? How do we know where to go for relevant, accurate science?
- Dr. Rosie Redfield – Named Nature’s most influential person of 2011, this associate professor of microbiology at UBC hit science fame through her blog RRResearch disputing NASA’s claim life exists in arsenic.
- The local reporter will depend on availability but he/she will focus on science and work for a mainstream media organization.
If you can’t attend in person, keep an eye on the #SoVan hashtag.
The inaugural ScienceOnline Bay Area (SOBA) event is also taking place on Thursday 19 April, from 19:00 to 20:30 at the swissnex, San Francisco. ScienceOnline Bay Area is co-organized by David Harris, William Gunn, Megan Mansell Williams, and Aurelie Coulon. The first topic for discussion will be:
Data Visualization and Data Journalism in Science
Although not yet exactly common in science reporting, data journalism and data visualization are a natural fit to the material. But how does one go beyond the use of tabular data and basic analysis to data scraping and sophisticated statistical techniques? We’ll discuss the issues, methods, and tools of data visualization and data journalism and explore the cutting edge of these fields with some of the leading practitioners in the Bay Area.
Join us to officially kick off the SOBA series with short speaker presentations, a panel discussion, and audience Q&A. For those who’d like to continue the conversation, the gathering convenes at a nearby bar (to be announced at the event)!
- Peter Aldhous is San Francisco bureau chief with New Scientist magazine, reporting on biology, medicine, social sciences and the environment. He also teaches in the Science Writing Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has developed curriculum materials in data analysis and visualization for the Academy of Art University inSan Francisco. Peter’s journalism has drawn on diverse sources of data, from earthquake records, through citations in stem cell research, to his own genome.
- Michael Porath heads up the Engineering team at Visual.ly. The startup creates tools which aim to democratize the creation of data visualization. Michael has a background in Software Engineering with a focus on working with large-scale data sets. He holds a Masters in Information Management and Systems from UC Berkeley, with a specialization in Data Visualization. Michael also teaches a graduate-level course in Information Visualization at the School of Information at UC Berkeley.
- Shane Shifflett is a software developer and reporter for The Bay Citizen who learned how to interrogate data while telling a story at Northwestern’s Medill School. There, he wrote about a drug-addled prostitute’s 300th arrest and the unforgiving criminal justice system which fails its inmates. He also reported on the Chicago Police Department’s wasteful deployment of cameras across its city. Before reporting, Shane studied computer science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
If you are unable to attend in person, keep an eye on the #SOBA hashtag.
Each event is also live-streamed to give as many people as possible the chance to take part in the debate (more details soon). Check out this month’s SoNYC livestream, or take a look at our archives where you can view the previous meetings.
This weekend sees the return of SciBarCamb – an unconference for scientists and technologists, taking place on the Friday 20th April and all day on Saturday 21st. The earlybird tickets have now sold out, but there are still some regular tickets left. If you’d like to find out more about the event, read what co-organiser Eva Amsen has to say about it and you can follow the online chatter using the #SciBarCamb hashtag.
Our scientific events calendars have been freshly updated to include the latest scientific events. Make sure you check them out. Please do get in touch if we are missing any events or if you would like to contribute to this calendar or any of the other calendars listed below.
If you haven’t already noticed, NPG’s Facebook pages now feature the new timeline format and to celebrate this launch we have been sharing a daily fact about NPG for the whole of April on the nature.com page:
Which fact have you found most surprising or interesting?
There’s more to come as we will be regularly updating the page – do let us know if there is something you would like to see. Finally, if you are not doing it already, make sure you click the “like” button and join in the conversation!