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On January 16th-17th, I attended the ScienceOnline2010 Conference, which was held in Research Triangle Park and hosted by Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. On January 16th, I attended the session led by John Hogenesch on “Science in the Cloud,” which Molly has already blogged about. I learned about Public Library of Science Currents: Influenza, which is intended to rapidly disseminate data to readers. Expert moderators exclude unsuitable material but do not provide in-depth review for this publication. Interestingly, authors wrote their articles for this publication using Google knol. I also attended the session on “Citizen Science,” which is an emerging field where scientists and volunteers work together to collect data on research projects. Scienceforcitizens.net has recently been created to match citizen scientists with research projects. Ben MacNeill also spoke about his website, Trixie Tracker, which is a web tool that enables parents to understand their children’s sleep patterns, etc. I also attended the session led by Dorothea Salo and Stephanie Willen Brown on “Scientists! What Can your Librarian Do for You?” I won’t rehash the details already reported by Molly, but Dorothea Salo made a good point that the requirement for students to find print journals is an assignment that is growing obsolete, as access to journals is increasingly being provided in electronic format. I also attended Anil Dash’s presentation on “Government 2.0.” Dash works for Expert Labs, which is affiliated with AAAS and enables the federal government to solicit feedback from citizens. The government is currently soliciting feedback on the development of Data.gov 2.0. The gallery of open government innovations is also available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/open/innovations. There were so many sessions that I wanted to attend at this conference, and I was able to attend part of the Demos on Saturday. I heard about PRI’s weekly science podcasts, which is a convenient way to keep up with the latest updates in science news.
On January 17th, I attended “Getting the Science Right: The Importance of Fact Checking mainstream science publications – An underappreciated and essential art,” which was led by Rebecca Skloot, Sheril Kirshenbaum and David Dobbs. Big magazines such as the New Yorker have fact-checking departments. Skloot hired a professional fact-checker when writing her book, The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, which is about the origin of the “first ‘immortal’ human cells grown in culture.” Dobbs made the point that science writers should consult with third party fact-checkers, as they would consult with external proofreaders. I also attended the session on “Open Notebook Science.” Jean-Claude Bradley, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Drexel University, made his raw data public, used Youtube to demonstrate his experimental set-up, and made his calculations public in Google Spreadsheets. Bradley made the point that “Open Notebook Science maintains the integrity of data provenance by making assumptions explicit.” The last session that I attended was on ChemSpider, which was acquired by the Royal Society of Chemistry and is a collaborative effort to create a database of chemical structures. Overall, this conference was informative, and it broadened my perspective on science librarianship.