Sessions suggestions

We're starting to make plans for Science Online London 2012 so if you have specific suggestions for sessions that you would like to run or to see, please add them here!

altmetrics session

In first part, discuss current research on impact of social media, including Mendeley, Twitter, and blog, and how we can measure that impact. Create an informal spec for a hackday the next day: what features do we want the code monkeys to add in the next 24 hours?

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Jason Priem

altmetrics hackday
Using the discussions at the altmetrics as a guide, make Something Awesome in 24 hours. A good target would be to improve the open-source application. We (TI team) may have some funding to help support the hackathon if this is the target, although not sure yet. Supply food, coffee? Another approach would be to have sort of a rolling hackathon set up in one room for the duration of the conference…people could drop in.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Jason Priem

Citizen Science
A hot new topic in science outreach is citizen science. I am interested in attending or maybe organizing a session about citizen science and how non-scientists can get directly involved in science work. Examples include Zooniverse, which started at Oxford University. What is citizen science? What are the ways to encourage citizen science at your institute? What are some of the concerns about citizen science? This could be a philosophical discussion or a how-to session or a combination of the two.

Also worth looking at MadLab in Manchester ( and Wolfson OpenScience lab at the Open Univ (

Additional comment: There are interesting questions around how professional–non-professional participants can work to co-create the project. What tools and strategies would best support full collaboration, dissemination and sharing? What skills would participants need to develop – interpretive and analytical skills for the non-professionals, perhaps; narrative and contextualising skills for the professionals, maybe.

community curation session
Science communication goes both ways. We want to structure knowledge well, making it a useful source of for knowledge based analysis. For that there is a large need for active curation and the best curators often are not the ones involved in the specific curation project. We see a number of community driven activities where this type of curation is already real. Wikis like WikiPathways and the Gene Wiki for instance, but also question and answer sites like the ones at Stackexchange and even some serious games can contribute to this type of developments.
It would be interesting to demo some existing examples focused on what the experiences with community involvement really are and what helps and does not help to improve that. This could be an introduction to a broader conversation about benefits, motivations and organization of such efforts.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Chris Evelo
  • Daniel Mietchen - could provide some examples for how Wikimedia projects engage with the scientific community

eLife - a new journal
We will be launching at the end of November. We are currently using a very user centered approach to the design and UX of the journal, and we are hoping to make the most our of web technologies, including a development of a read and write api built on top of fluidinfo. We would love an opportunity to show the community what we have been up to, and to give a sneak peek to some of the features of the journal that we will be launching later that month.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Ian Mulvany

The journal is dead, long live the journal
In a world with 25000 titles, do journals provide a false and inefficient categorisation of research? What is the future role of the journal as a container for articles going to be? Life scientists almost exclusively use PubMed for search and retrieval, astronomers and physicists the ArXiV, and everyone uses Google Scholar. Why even have individual journal titles any more when megajournals like PLoS one can provide a better scaled publishing technology for dissemination of research.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Ian Mulvany
  • Anna Sharman

Juggling jobs: Balancing a research career with SciComm
Science communicators, whether writers, journalists, broadcasters or organisers, start somewhere. Usually we start out as researchers and diversify from there. We want to find out why people decide to get involved in SciComm and the different ways that they do it. Are you a researcher who blogs or are you a writer who does science? We also want to look at how online media is helping early career researchers to gain valuable communication experience and connections, whilst still spending time in the lab. We'll also look at several projects that have been developed to help researchers to start talking about their work e.g. university based science magazines, the STEM ambassadors project and the Sense about Science initiative.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Jonathan Lawson
  • Heather Doran

Communicating direct: How organisations are using the web to bypass mainstream media

The digital revolution has transformed the environment in which we communicate, reducing the costs of distributing content and blurring the boundaries between traditional media and “source” organisations. This creates an opportunity for such institutions to communicate with larger audiences directly, unmediated by third parties who may not share the same ideals.

Institutions such as Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and others have grasped this opportunity, be it through websites, blogs, YouTube or social media. And it is going beyond what might be mistaken for ‘marketing guff’. Cancer Research UK’s Science Blog is one of the most read and most respected in the science blogosphere. And the Wellcome Trust is about to launch an online project presenting high-quality explanatory content (including long-form writing, infographics, animation and video) about the areas of science the Trust funds, but not restricted to its actual scientists.

This session will discuss what organisations are doing and how this is evolving. With audiences increasingly choosing their own news sources, what’s the worth of these outlets, where do they sit with mainstream media and where’s the line between communication and marketing/PR?

Possible orgs/attendees:

*Mark Henderson, Wellcome Trust
*Henry Scowcroft, Cancer Research UK
*Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK

  • Mun-Keat Looi, Wellcome Trust
  • Matt Jukes, MRC
  • Vibhuti Patel, RSC Publishing

Patient and public engagement in the social media age

Similar to above session (could possibly be merged?!), with explicit focus on PPI (patient and public involvement in research)-type activities, which are of increasing importance when seeking grant funding but are also crucial when it comes to spreading awareness of scientific approaches to solving challenges. Questions to address would include:

  • How can we maximise our reach whilst targeting stakeholders?
  • How can we overcome skepticism towards online engagement, from researchers and the public?
  • How can we lower the costs of engagement?
  • Should we seek to use more user-generated and/or partnership-driven content?

Possible speakers (in addition to which I'm happy to help…!):

  • Daniel Glaser, Wellcome Trust
  • Jack Nunn, Macmillan Cancer Research
  • TwoCan Associates and/or Inclusive Employers

Stories behind the research

Behind every scientific paper is a story about researchers. Sometimes you can see hints of it in the methods section, and imagine graduate students spending the night in the lab, or travelling to exotic locales to collect samples. Other times it’s well hidden, and you can’t even tell from the paper that a lab was recently destroyed by a natural disaster.

These sorts of stories show the human side of research, but what is the value, and who is the audience? Where can researchers share these stories if they want to? How is the web facilitating this? Do journals play a role?

This unfolding tale about stories about research is set in the age of Big Data, and to the backdrop of a rapidly changing publishing environment. Do we still have time for stories, or are they more important than ever?

I think this would make a good panel discussion that could lead to practical advice for both researchers and science communicators. I’m happy to give examples of “behind the scenes” tales from the Node and elsewhere, and discuss their merit for researchers and publishers. It would also be good to hear from researchers, editors, university media people, journalists, etc. to explore various angles.

I have a few ideas for panelists, and would be happy to put together a panel, but don’t want to slap people’s names on things without first asking them… If you're interested, add your own name below!

  • Eva Amsen
  • Vibhuti Patel
  • Ben Lillie (Director, The Story Collider. I have many ideas and thoughts on this subject.)

Challenges in science communication in Europe

Possible orgs/attendees:Beatrice Lugger, Enrico Balli, Lucas Brouwers

Is there a perfect science-based short story?

If one person writes a science-based piece of fiction, they are inevitably influenced by where they have worked, the folk they've worked with, the topics they've pursued, the labs they've visited and the conferences they've attended. That is a lot of the author and not much of anyone else – apart from their own interpretations of others…

How about spending a session crowd-sourcing the development of the science-based short story the wider group of science communicators would most like to see… We could negotiate as a group over the setting, the subject, the protagonists, the set-up and the twist… Will chemistry win over biology? Does cosmology trump both? Can romance triumph over cynicism? Are there original heroes out there – and what are the acts that we as science communicators think are truly heroic?

It could be a lot of fun – and expose a lot about what we REALLY want to achieve in our chosen professions… We could also include contributions by Twitter and other media – to fit in this year's Web theme. And with so many excellent publications likely to be represented we might even get it published… :-)

I'd be happy to act as Ringmaster but would welcome other contributors…

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • John Gilbey

Can we work together to better evaluate online engagement?

One of the big advantages of online engagement is the accurate measurement of what we do. But there seems to be little discussion about what are the important measures. A number of arts organisations worked together to create some shared good practice culminating in a Culture24 report. Should we be looking at something for science engagement?

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Shane McCracken
  • Karen Bultitude
  • Jonathan Sanderson
  • Alex Saxon
  • Tony Hirst

A Repository For Trials and Errors

Discussions regarding the immediate need for a repository (Journal of Errology) that seeks to provide researchers a medium to share the full story behind their research papers. The perseverance of researchers is what has leads to all our discoveries and inventions, and this perseverance helps overcomes numerous trials & errors, futile hypotheses, short falls, false starts, etc. Till now the only way to know the story behind the published papers was either having the researcher as a mentor or co-working with them. Journal of Errology provides a medium that helps them share all their experiences behind a paper to help other researchers to save time & effort, design better experiments, do more advanced research, increasing feedback, and avoiding redundancy in research. Read more about the repository at and find the demo of the journal at

The repository is open access, peer reviewed and submissions are completely free. Currently a part of Bioflukes, the repository is in the process of being separated, which could coincide with the Science Online Event.

Possible attendees:

  • Mahboob Imtiyaz

Material Usage Analysis in Scientific Articles: Developing New Ways to Visualise Research

At scrazzl, our focus is on large scale document analysis. To start we are working to measure research material efficacy with a view to improving reproducibility in the experimental sciences. Journal impact factors and article level metrics, such as altmetrics and citation frequency, are all designed to help researchers make decisions about whether they should read a given article.

Beyond article level analysis, we think that content analysis and smart graphical visualisation of research content has the potential to transform how experimental research is planned and executed. We would like to have a discussion about the questions that people have found really difficult to answer that could potentially be answered by large scale article analysis. If you have questions that you think could be answered by article analysis please list them below for discussion:

- What is the most popular protein/gene as measured by research output?
- Where in the world is the best place to go if I am interested in studying Influenza A?
- I am having problems using Antibody X from Company Y, where can I find papers/researchers that have used this material successfully?
- ……..

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • David Kavanagh
  • Paul Phillips
  • Daniel Hunt

Machine readable literature

Much discussion has taken place in last few months on the need to promote open access with full use and re-use not only by humans, but also by machines. JISC and Wellcome Trust funded a study on benefits of text mining (, but still some remain to be convinced that asking for full re-use OA is a must, not a nice to have. The number of peer-reviewed articles that have been published is estimated at about 50 million and is rapidly increasing. We will thus inevitably need to have machine readable literature in the future. Session could showcase latest research in both text, figure and other forms of content mining and demonstrate how researchers use a corpus of literature as a database, and how this leads to new uses beyond reading, and ultimately new discoveries.

Consider the question - if there was a scientific data repository, what data would you like it to host? What would you like to do with the data, and how would you prefer to do it? How can it be made easy to submit additional data?

Same or other session could show how text readable full text literature can be connected to other online resources, and how the traditional format on the online journal gets modified and enhanced.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Researchers involved in projects currently mining literature
  • Publishers who are encouraging linkage between literature and other data sets
  • Tony Hammond
  • Suggest Peter Murray-Rust?
  • Ross Mounce, University of Bath & Open Knowledge Foundation Panton Fellow

Improving papers and journals: evolution not revolution

Much of the online discussion about changing the primary scientific literature has revolved around revolutionary changes. But even if this revolution eventually splutters out, there is still great scope for improving the presentation of research. This session will explore these ideas, such as multimedia online supplements, allowing comments on papers etc. and ask what works, how we can encourage scientists see beyond the traditional paper, and how this might change the role of the primary literature in leaving a permanent record of the development of science.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Bob O'Hara
  • Daniel Mietchen - I would like to add a wiki spin

Science fraud: what are the lessons we need to learn?

Academic fraud is obviously a serious issue. it undermines the basic principles of science, and serves no purpose other than to further an individual's career or reputation, at the cost of diluting our collective knowledge and understanding. Worryingly though, is the fact that despite how difficult it is (or should be) to produce fake data, we are seeing a number of high-profile instances in which it has been happening for some time before being detected. Cases such as those involving Diederik Stapel and Yoshitaka Fuji highlight a wide range of problems about how research is checked and presented. This session will discuss these issues, and look at how the use of web-based technology to improve the way research is reviewed and presented might help us to prevent further misconduct in the future.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Pete Etchells
  • Suzi Gage
  • Marcus Munafo
  • Chris Chambers

Maximising Downloads of Research Publications Using Social Media

Depositing a paper in an open access repository is not enough if you want to achieve the goal of maximising readership of your research papers. But how should researchers go about maximising the readership of their papers through use of the social web? In this session Brian Kelly will describe the approaches he has taken which has led to his papers being the most downloaded in the University of Bath repository. The session will explore the approaches taken and the ethical aspects of such approaches.
Possible orgs/attendees:
* Brian Kelly
* ???

Using Social Media at Conferences and Other Events: Backchannel, Amplification, Remote Participation and Legacy
The term 'amplified conference' was coined to describe use of networked technologies to amplify discussions at an event and provide opportunities for audience which is not physically present to remotely participate. Amplification also extends to annotation, in which audience members can annotate a talk with comments and linked resource sharing. In the same way that conference proceedings and attendee lists provide a legacy resource associated with an event, so too can the backchannel archive, in the form of social media interest maps, and search-based resources (for example, search over participants' blogs or shared links, or search into video archives based on contemporaneous backchannel commentary).

Approaches such as Twitter event hashtags, video or audio streaming of talks and preserving conference resources such as slides, recordings of talks and Twitter archives for use after the event are now embedded within certain sectors of the research community, particularly events with a focus on open access and use of social media.

This participative session will provide an opportunity for participants to hear about emerging practices for amplification of events, including analysis of associated metrics. The session will also address potential barriers and concerns when event amplification may not be appropriate.

  • Tony Hirst
  • Brian Kelly

Online science journalism: a help or a hindrance to science communication?

A session/debate on whether the expanding world of online science journalism is helping or hindering science communication efforts might be popular. Do science stories by, for example, the Mail Online, increase the public's interest in science and inform and educate as well as entertain? Or is newspaper and magazine coverage doing more harm than good. This is against the background of newspapers increasing their science content online with few extra resources. The Mail Online became the world's most popular newspaper site a few months ago and part of the strategy that got them to that position was to increase their science coverage massively as science is of interest to readers worldwide.
Possible speakers - David Derbyshire, former science editor for the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail. Mark Henderson, head of comms for the Wellcome Trust, Ben Goldacre of Bad Science fame, Martin Robbins.

Online impact

Online systems for recording research outputs and impact are now de rigueur, such as the RCUK Research Outcomes System ( and MRC eVal - now ResearchFish - ( ResearchFish is looking to expand to an international stage, and adding useful functionality (e.g. It will also interface with PubMedCentral. It would be interesting to consider how the growth of such systems will impact on and feed off other online science tools.

Aiming science engagement at policy makers

The audience for science engagement doesn't have to be the general public. This workshop would look at ways in which grassroots activists can engage, support and serve decision-making groups such as politicians, political parties, schools, patient groups, press, business leaders and religious communities.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Mark Henderson, Head of Communications, Wellcome Trust
  • Yvonne Baker, Chief Executive, STEMNET
  • Jo Kidd, Youth Engagement Officer
  • Professor Neil Messer, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Winchester
  • Frank Swain, National Coordinator for Science Training for Journalists, Royal Statistical Society
  • Julian Huppert MP, author of Lib Dem science policy paper and advocate of evidence-based policy on e.g. drugs and much more
  • Jenny Rohn or anyone from Science is Vital, Imran Khan from CaSE

Science Blogging: Global Edition

The science blogging community has predominantly embraced the English language. English is not only employed by science bloggers based in English-speaking countries, such as the US or UK, but also by numerous science bloggers from all parts of the world. But increasingly, science blogging communities are being built around other languages. To promote this, the SciLogs initiative, spearheaded by Spektrum der Wissenschaft (the German branch of Scientific American), is continually building a collection of science blogging networks in different languages. The SciLogs initiative hosts bloggers hailing from different countries, having different cultures and speaking different languages, but grouped by the same enthusiasm and love for science communication.

The SciLogs initiative now wants to go further and create a synergy between those different networks. And we want to spur a discussion to get people's views and ideas. We plan to first provide brief introductions of non-English science blogging. We will then open the session to allow attendees to share their thoughts and ideas as to how we can make this happen.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Khalil A. Cassimally, & Nature Education, NPG
  • Lars Fischer, Spektrum der Wissenschaft

How podcasts, microblogs and crowdsourced science funding are making citizen science possible

The era of crowdfunding scientific projects has begun. This panel will discuss how efforts such as, Microryza and the #SciFund Challenge on RocketHub are giving scientists economic freedom. The panel will also present data on how cheap communication is increasing participation and creativity. We will consider the challenges associated with enabling scientists to collaborate on niche areas of interest for the public. All this, we hope, will be boosted by capturing the growing interest of people in science by using social media, blogs and podcasts.

Possible orgs/attendees:

Collaborating and building your online presence: educating scientists and science students [a discussion session?]

At Imperial College London Library, we have developed a programme (Blogs, Twitter, wikis and other web-based tools: collaborating and building your online presence) to educate postgraduate research students about not only the web 2.0 tools and technologies available to them to help with their research, but also the impact their use has on building their online presence and any legal and ethical implications. The programme is based online but includes a face to face workshop and the Library has worked with researchers and PhD students to integrate as many 'real-life' Imperial based examples as possible.

Whilst many attendees at Science Online London are already aware of what's available, what about those who are not, or are interested but just not sure where to get started? And leading on from this - what about undergraduate science students? What should we be doing to introduce them to the these tools and technologies (as an additional form of scholarly communication in addition to more traditional means such as journal articles), in order to educate them from an early stage in their career? How can librarians and scientists work together to make this happen?

A similar session was run at Science Online 2012 earlier this year, focussing on undergraduate education. It could maybe start with a few case studies and build a discussion from there?

Potential attendees

  • Scientists from Imperial and other universities already involved in educating colleagues and students
  • Librarians wanting to engage in supporting researchers and students

(Jenny Evans and Ruth Harrison, Imperial College London)

Workshop: Using Twitter as a Means of Effective Science Engagement


An interactive workshop introducing how each of the speakers successfully use Twitter for engagement. Each of the Dublin-based speakers has diverse experiences in using social media for this purpose. The workshop will include an activity which will result in the creation of a social media-centric science engagement project.

About the Speakers:

  • Science 140 Team: An exciting social media project co-ordinated by four Irish science communicators and enthusiasts including Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin presenter of RTE's The Science Squad, science blogger Maria Delaney, science teacher/blogger Humphrey Jones and dentist/journalist Paul O'Dwyer. This crowdsourcing project took place in 2012 collating science definitions & explanations via Twitter in 140 characters or less. This resulted in the book, A Neutron Walks into A Bar, being published in October 2012. (
  • Science Gallery: A world first located in Dublin City Centre. A new type of venue where today's white-hot scientific issues are thrashed out and you can have your say. A place where ideas meet and opinions collide. (
  • Spotticus the Giraffee: A twitter account from Dublin’s Dead Zoo. @SpotticusNH from The Natural History Museum Dublin, tweeting about the museum after hours. (

Publishing Research Data session

While it is a highly important research output, data (including software) has not been treated on an equal basis with research papers in terms of dissemination and recognition. Redressing this balance is of great importance so that researchers receive fair reward for the work they do, in terms of career progression, academic reach and funding (including the UK REF and similar exercises). At the same time, enabling the publication of these resources also leads among other things to higher quality and more efficient research, for instance through validation and reuse.

This session will discuss recent developments in research data publication, citation and impact analysis that are addressing this important issue.

Possible orgs/attendees:

  • Brian Hole
  • Tom Pollard
  • Jonathan Tedds
  • Simon Hodson
  • Neil Chue Hong

Reusing Open-Access materials

The initial motivation behind calls for Open Access to the scientific literature was that researchers lacked read access to what other researchers had "published". Since then, multiple ways of providing such read access have been explored, including Open Licenses. Such licenses allow reuse way beyond the mere reading of a manuscript. One of the largest reusers of openly licensed scholarly materials is the Wikimedia community.

This session will provide an overview over the range of reuses that occur on Wikimedia projects (some examples), as well as over attempts to approach such reuse more systematically (example), particularly in the framework of WikiProject Open Access.

Possible orgs/attendees:
*Daniel Mietchen
*Audio and video repair in Miami

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