Andy is too modest to mention it himself, so I’ll point you all at the excellent interview that PLoS ONE guru Bora Zivkovic did with our glorious leader, as part of his coverage of ScienceOnline2010. GO HERE to read it.
Anyone can do science – this firm belief is part of why we started the Open Dinosaur Project. In fact, as Matt noted some time ago, there is a whole world of “citizen science” opportunities out there! If you’re addicted to the idea of citizen science, and want to learn about other projects in this vein, head on over to scienceforcitizens.net. They’ve got a whole directory of opportunities in all scientific fields in which you can participate!
Even better, there is a project page for the ODP, and a nifty little blog post by John Ohab with a video message from Matt and me (Mike’s over in England, and Matt and I practically live next door, so you’re stuck with only 2/3 of the project leads). John mentioned that scienceforcitizens.net (which is still in the beta stage, but looking quite nice) encourages all of us to create an account and even member blog posts about our experiences as citizen scientists. If you have a moment, go check it out!
Have you been featured in the news, on a blog, or elsewhere? Let us know!
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s radio show Future Tense is airing an episode later today on Open Science. It just so happens that I was interviewed about the Open Dinosaur Project for the program! Sadly, I can’t really tell you what I’m going to talk about, because I just don’t remember. I was coming off a nasty flu at the time of the interview, so there are no guarantees that I’m terribly coherent. I’m pretty sure I owe an apology to Matt and Mike, for neglecting to mention them at all! Not my best interview. . .but then again, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
We’ve only got 70 more measurements left to verify, and there are now 1,757 measurements on the verified list. Amazing!
As I catch up after ScienceOnline2010, I wanted to share a few things that I learned there.
- People love what we’re doing with this project. The response I received was nearly uniformly positive, and a number of people provided leads for future funding possibilities.
- We’re not the only folks doing open notebook science. But, it’s still a pretty small niche in the broader profession. Will it become the dominant model? Or just a toy for a few crazy individuals? Only time will tell.
- Our project is unusual among many citizen science projects in the depth to which participants are encouraged to contribute beyond data collection. We don’t want just data monkeys – we want folks who think about the process, contribute ideas, and (hopefully) help us craft the best research paper possible. Of course, we don’t think any less of you if you just want to submit data – but don’t feel limited to data entry alone if you desire more participation!
- Our project is also unusual among citizen science projects in the stated publication goals. There seems to be a sense out there (I don’t know how accurate it truly is) that many of these sorts of efforts end in a nice pile of data, but no real published results. That’s all the more incentive to bring our paper through to its logical conclusion!
I have no word yet on the YouTube video of my presentation. Did anyone catch it live?
The ODP Around the Blogosphere
We’ve got a few new links to mention. These include:
- Desafiando a Nomenklatura Científica has a short blog post on the project.
- Sarah Dowdey, writing for Discovery News, discusses the ODP as egalitarian science. The Guild of Scientific Troubadours reblogged that story.
- Andria Krewson, on the PBS blog MediaShift, gives us a brief shout-out.
- Jeremy Yoder, writing at Denim and Tweed, talks about his impressions of the ODP from his attendance at ScienceOnline2010.
- Jean-Claude Bradley, writing at Useful Chemistry, has some nice things to say about the ODP presentation at ScienceOnline2010.
If you know of any others, please feel free to post the link in the comments section.
In just a few short hours, I’ll be leaving for ScienceOnline2010. Rather fitting for the topic, this is an “unconference” – meaning everyone (not just physical attendees) is welcome to participate through chats, Twitter, streamed conference sessions, blogs, etc. I’m really excited for my talk (the “demo” session that I’m in is the closest thing to formal presentations that the meeting has – most of the rest of the sessions are less structured), as well as for the chance to network and hang out with so many people who share a common interest in science communication. A number of other “citizen science” people will be there, so one goal is to compare notes on all of our respective projects.
This afternoon I ran through the presentation with ODP co-leader Matt Wedel, who also happens to live just down the street from me (Mike Taylor, of course, couldn’t make it from England just for a half hour practice and critique session). Thanks to Matt’s suggestions (and Mike’s emailed suggestions about some of the slides), the whole thing is much more polished now. I’ll be posting the slides here shortly after my session on Saturday.
Although the great majority of you won’t be there in person, there are ways to participate from home. I’m in Session E (full program here), from 2 – 3:05 pm Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, January 16. This session will be livestreamed through The RTP Stream, and a chat function at that site will allow you to ask questions or add comments in realtime. For those of you who are active in SecondLife, the session will also be livestreamed onto the RTP Island. After the conclusion of the conference, most of the sessions will also be archived on the scienceinthetriangle YouTube channel – search for the hashtag #scio10. For more details on these and other ways to participate, check out Bora’s post here.
I’m hoping to get a post or two in during the conference, so stay tuned for more!
I spent much of today working on my presentation about the Open Dinosaur Project for ScienceOnline2010. The hope is to post the full thing in some form after the meeting; in the meantime, here’s a working outline for the talk:
- Brief introduction to the ODP and what I’ll be discussing
- Paleontology as a historically (and sometimes necessarily) secretive field, due to issues of fossil poaching, worries about calling “firsties” on an idea or discovery, stipulations from funding agencies, etc.
- The rise of open access literature (with its body of untapped data), as well as an interested and savvy community of non-professionals, makes now a great time to attempt something new
- The team of Farke, Taylor, and Wedel started the Open Dinosaur Project in order to set a precedent for open notebook science within paleo, involve all sorts of people in the science, do some great paleo research on ornithischians, and assemble a database for use by others
- Brief background on what an ornithischian is, and why we care about their limb bones
- Brief outline of how we got the word out about the project
- Brief introduction to you, the participants, and all of the work we’ve accomplished in a short time
- Potential problems in data mining the literature, and how we’ve worked around them
- An overview and demo of the data collection and verification process
- Next steps: analysis, paper writing, and publication
- What’s worked well, and what we hope to improve
- Conclusion and acknowledgments
Right now, we have about 33 slides and the whole thing takes about 13 or 14 minutes to run through. I’m hoping to smooth things out over the next few days, to bring it in around 12 minutes. The time slot is 15 minutes total, so ideally I want a 12 minute talk with 3 minutes for questions.
Bora asked if I’ll be bringing a dinosaur bone along with me. . .sadly, it probably won’t happen.