Monday, June 30, 2008

Back from San Diego

Update: the presentation videos are now available here.

I'm back from the UCSD workshop on New Communication Channels for Biology held June 27-28, 2008.

The first day mainly consisted of talks while the second was very heavy on breakout sessions (see agenda). Probably the most beneficial part for me was seeing old friends or meeting in person several people I had only interacted with online previously. For example was nice to finally meet Dan Gezelter from the OpenScience project and Hilary Spencer from Nature Precedings. I also had a blast over enchiladas on Friday night with Mike Nieslen and Jen Dodd. Mike gave a very engaging talk on the Future of Science on Thursday night.

The presentations were recorded and should be available within a week on the wiki link above - I'll post an update here when I am made aware of it.

The take-home message for me resonated around the idea that there exists a group of really strong advocates for the Open Science movement. The actual tools, whether they be wikis, blogs, custom databases or open-source software, were secondary to the fundamental philosophy of openness.

The SciBarCamp breakout sessions were certainly very lively. Since we were mainly preaching to the choir, controversy was at a minimum. However we did acknowledge the difficulty in pursuing an Open Science agenda within the current establishment.

It was hard to resist pointing out the remarkable recent success of FriendFeed in facilitating communication between life scientists. Of course Deepak brought that up during his session.

The fact that this conference was organized and funded on such short notice is a testament to the commitment of the core Open Science group - thanks to John Wooley and
Srikrishna Subramanian for making it happen!

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