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Scientists and web 2.0


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Why are some web 2.0 tools not catching on so well among scientists? What meets their needs and what doesn't? Presentation given for an audience of mostly publishers and very few scientists, …

Why are some web 2.0 tools not catching on so well among scientists? What meets their needs and what doesn't? Presentation given for an audience of mostly publishers and very few scientists, emphasizing especially how academic (life) scientists interacts with the web (or not...)

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  • 1. Scientists and web 2.0 Eva Amsen University of Toronto April 2nd, 2009 Allen Press Emerging Trends in Scholarly Publishing™ Seminar
  • 2. The internet & science • Scientists were among the first people online. • Researchers need the internet to: – Look for papers – E-mail colleagues – Order materials – Search databases – Submit papers
  • 3. The internet as distraction Source:
  • 4. Web 2.0 as distraction Source:
  • 5. Science talk pre-web-2.0 CC-BY-SA Benjamin D. Esham for the Wikimedia Commons
  • 6. Not everybody participates …and 90% of content is by 1% of users!
  • 7. Engaging scientists online : • Commenting on (published) research articles – “open peer review” – Commenting on published articles • Social networks for scientists • Social bookmarks and reference managers • Blogs – Science blogs – Microblogging (Twitter)
  • 8. Commenting on research articles • Nature’s “open peer review” trial (2006) – 5% of invited authors participated (71 papers) – Half of the papers received no comments – Total of 92 comments on the remaining half – 5600 page views per week (0.1% of page views leads to a comment)
  • 9. Commenting on research articles 18% of articles have comments 2% of articles have comments 11% of commenters comments more than once 8% of commenters comments more than once
  • 10. “…at a conference the most important things happen in the coffee break” - Hans Ulrich Obrist
  • 11. Social Networks for Scientists • Scientists already have social networks: – Department – Labs on same floor – Colleagues in same field • Conferences • Publication and peer review • Why not move all that online?
  • 12. There are many social networks for scientists! Too many? Not everyone joins all networks, some people join one. Networks become scattered. There is no default social network for scientists (yet) “What can I do there?”
  • 13. Social Bookmarking and Reference Managers • Sharing links (websites or papers) • But is it necessary or useful? – New tools only useful if they outdo the current tools in speed and performance. – Must publish, sharing is not required for job More:
  • 14. Science Blogs A science blog is a blog about science, or about being a scientist
  • 15. The science blogosphere…
  • 16. Why would senior scientists need to blog? “can humanize scientists and science for the public” “convince other scientists that the web is a useful, important tool for their work” “can help scientists stay current with the field” “increase the visibility of science blogs” “would give blogging more respectability” “expands your network of contacts” “blogging can help to get you noticed” “people want to know ’what’s going on’, “useful for educational purposes” and if you don’t tell them, someone else will… tell them rubbish, more than likely.” “attract people to apply for postdocs in your group”
  • 17. Scientists on Twitter 358 “scientwists” as of 31/3/2009, collected by David Bradley @sciencebase
  • 18. But… Information comes by very fast Very little of what others say is of professional interest to me (And very little of what I say is of professional interest to anyone!) More reasons why scientists won’t use Twitter:
  • 19. Why scientists don’t like web 2.0 • Image of web 2.0 • Lack of familiarity with new tools • Lack of time • (Perceived) lack of personal/career benefits • Fear of being scooped or losing job
  • 20. Why scientists do like web 2.0 Source:
  • 21. How to get more scientists using web 2.0 tools? • Do we really need to? – Does it save time? – Does it make work easier/better? – Can it be used passively? (90-9-1) – Peer pressure: Is everyone using it?
  • 22. More info • Everything I used (and more) is here: • Especially note: Science 2.0: Social Not Working transcript:
  • 23. Contact information Eva Amsen