Science Online London 2009

I’m on the train home after a very long day in London.  Last year this was more a science blogging conference with a sprinkling of open notebook science and open access and related publishing stuff.  This year the scope had been broadened to include all online science communication.  I suspect that as well as broadening the scope, the size of the conference should also have increased.  There was a lack of good discussion in the sessions, good question and answers, but it never really took off in the way that the North Carolina conference can.  I don’t think there was a critical mass of any one group in the audience, nor were there sufficient breakout sessions to cater to all needs.  There were a couple 0f sessions that I feel should have been break out sessions.

The programme was, as implied above, very varied.  There were sessions on online blogging communities, google wave, various forms of metrics and publishing issues.  I felt that it was aimed more at developers of these internet site rather than the end user.  For example, the session on online blogging communities dealt with issues surrounding group size, what community members needed (analytics, tech support etc) and touched very briefly on the issue of flame wars.  I did wonder if there were too few bloggers in the audience to really get the conversation going at that point.  It felt more like a ‘how to run an online science community’ session than an open discussion of their merits and pitfalls.

I’d make similar comments about those sessions that involved publishing – impact factor and metrics, author identity etc.  They were probably really interesting to those ‘ in the know’ but for me, they quickly passed into the realm of confusing insider speak.

I’ll follow this post up later with some more stuff.  Too tired to write more now!

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