heads-up

stolenfromrob.jpg Rob Helpy Chalk is a philosopher and a teacher and has a brain approximately the size of a planet (note: not a pluton), so I am very pleased to see that he’s interested in scientific communication. I’ll weigh in on his ideas later, when I have some time, but I’m posting this now to alert people I think will be interested. If you read me at all, you will probably be interested in Rob’s thoughts on scientific communication and I’d really like it if you’d take a look at the linked post and give Rob some feedback. This has all the makings of a fun, useful conversation.
Comments are off here, go talk to Rob. Mind you don’t put links in your comments though, his spam filter has got teeth. The comment I tried to post is below the cut; I’ll wait until tomorrow and try again if it still hasn’t appeared. it’s now up at Rob’s post. PZ Myers’ comment thread also has some good stuff.
Update: Arunn of Nonoscience has put together an alternative chart and generated even more good discussion.


Ideas, in no particular order:
If the thickness of the arrows is meant to indicate the relative importance of each line of communication, I think you are overestimating face-to-face between scientists relative to reading each others’ papers and attending talks, poster sessions, etc. (There’s obviously f2f at conferences, but also one can sit through a talk without speaking to the presenter, which I assume is why you’ve separated them out.) I talk science with my labmates all the time, but the bulk of information flow between me and anyone else in my field is via papers/seminars.
Couldn’t interviews be by email, or in person?
If by arXive/preprint you mean self-archiving in OA repositories, I think you have the current importance about right (varies by field — close to 100% in physics but somewhere around 5-15% in biology I think). I hope, though, that more and more information will start to flow through OA channels, and less and less through traditional journals. You probably already know where to go for the latest on OA but if not I can hook you up.
I also hope that science blogs will become an important means of communication between scientists as well as between scientists and the informed public. See, for instance, Bora on publishing data on blogs (1), Rosie Redfield’s real-science-in-real-time blog (2), Pedro’s data-based Ramblings (3), Jean-Claude’s Useful Chemistry (4), Jonathan Eisen pimping his latest OA paper and data release (5) and so on.
1.sciencepolitics.blogspot.com/2006/04/publishing-hypotheses-and-data-on-blog.html
better link: scienceblogs.com/clock/2006/08/ science_blogging_what_it_can_b.php
2.rrresearch.blogspot.com/
3.pbeltrao.blogspot.com/2006/07/likelihood-that-two-proteins-interact.html
4.usefulchem.blogspot.com/
5.phylogenomics.blogspot.com/2006/08/tackling-hairy-beast-tetrahymena-genome.html