I tried to do it the way the academy wants, truly I did. I submitted my abstract, sent in my slides, wrote my paper and turned up at the conference. I won’t defame the local organisers by saying which conference; those who really want to can work out which major international conference on science communication happened late in 2010.
Murphy’s Law: everything that could possibly go wrong did. The abstract was lost, the registration process worked one time out of three; my slides didn’t make it, at one stage I was in the programme to speak in two sessions (both of them the wrong ones), my talk eventually vanished altogether and the paper never made it to the proceedings.
I did get to stay on for a very good holiday (but that’s the subject of another blog) although the scars still sting. I can almost think about it without howling but the pain lingers. Some would say it’s partly my fault. I am very organised; I send everything in at least a week before the deadline, which means there was more time for them to get lost.
So, not even in the conventional sense has the work been made available. Time to practice what I’m researching others doing; turn to the currently unconventional – and open. I’ve put it in my university’s open repository (or at least, started the process that will eventually land it in the repository) and now I’m making it available here. It’ll be fascinating to see if anyone engages with it: one of my mantras is that openness – and the Internet – means that if anyone is interested in something (however obscure) they can get to the information.
Last time I looked, my readership was in single figures; hope you enjoy it, guys! Let me know what you think.
People practise Open Science for all sorts of reasons. They might be philosophical: it is A Good Thing-in-Itself. Or they might be pragmatic: it’s a way to get information out to as wide an audience as possible (and maybe back in again, but that’s another topic). But does making information directly available to anyone clear the stream of communication or does the data surge muddy the waters with a deluge of unfocussed, unclear and unvetted comment?