aw, NUTs

I’m still spending pretty much every waking moment in the lab — it’s OK Mum, I’m having fun and taking care of myself! — because I have some really neat results and want to send them out into the world asap. (I will do my best to persuade the boss to submit to an OA journal and to put a preprint in Nature Precedings, but no guarantees there.)
So, this entry is just to round up a couple of NUTs — Nagging Unfinished Tasks.
thing2.JPG NUT the first: 2008 Science Blogging Conference — I never did get around to posting about it, but I have left comments on other people’s entries saying most of what I had to say. Mostly, it was a blast and I wish I could have that kind of experience more often, as it really recharges my enthusiasm.
The one thing I meant to do, and didn’t get around to, was pointing to the sponsors. I hate advertising, and was even a little put off by the “swag bags” given out at the conference (very much a minority opinion there) — but sponsorship seems different to me. Provided the recipients do their bit, the sponsors can make a real contribution and raise their profile in a “target market” without having to spam anyone. So, I wanted to do my bit to promote those individuals, businesses and organizations who helped Anton, Bora & Co. to make the conference such a success: if you have a moment, click through to that link and check a few of ’em out.
hotelroom.JPG I also want to highlight the contribution made by the Radisson Research Triangle Park, who weren’t exactly sponsors but made a big difference to my stay. It’s a very nice hotel, much swankier than my usual budget-driven choices, and they provided a special attendee rate for the conference weekend which made them the cheapest alternative within any reasonable distance of the conference. This was great, because they are in fact walking distance from the Sigma Xi Center where the conference was held, and quite a lot of the attendees took them up on their offer. This made transport easy to figure out, and the after-conference bar sessions lively and fun. I really like not worrying about transport to and from conference venues, and I really like being able to walk from the bar to my room after staying up way too late talking to interesting people, so thanks to the Radisson RTP for making my stay so enjoyable. If you’re going to stay in NC, keep them in mind. On the right is a picture of my room there — yup, two double beds all to myself, same cheap rate. (On the left is a DNA-inspired sculpture that hangs in the central stairwell of the Sigma Xi Center.)
NUT the second: Whatever happened to those letters I was thinking about sending? Well, in the end, I decided not to send them. The bottom line is that, as Peter Suber pointed out to me in email, it’s a given that almost none of the recipients of such a letter would respond. I finally decided that such a predictably low response rate would reduce the exercise to little more than muck-raking, since no useful data would come of it. It would take a lot of work to find the appropriate contact person at each company and tailor the letters to their public position on OA, and in the end nobody would gain from it. I hope this is not a great disappointment to the few people who came forward to say they’d sign such letters — if it is, let me know, and we can discuss possible ways to resurrect the idea or alternative ways to find out the same target information. It’s not so much dead as buried under the weight of other, more pressing (and, I hope, more productive) commitments.

2 thoughts on “aw, NUTs

  1. I can hardly complain about your not sending these letters, not having written any myself. It’s lazy activism. You need to set priorities, and so do I, and I agree that the impact:effort ratio is dismayingly low.
    Given that my dues to Sigma Xi go to that center in part, I am glad it’s a useful place for bringing people together!

  2. I really like not worrying about transport to and from conference venues, and I really like being able to walk from the bar to my room after staying up way too late talking to interesting people, so thanks to the Radisson RTP for making my stay so enjoyable.
    I didn’t do much in prepping for the conference but lining up this hotel was my one task – glad you liked it (and it was great to see you again!). The Radisson RTP caters to all the academic/industrial entities around the Park and Wendy Jeffries at the hotel gets all the credit for making your stay so enjoyable.

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