Thursday, March 01, 2007

ANNOUNCEMENT: Get ready for the NEXT year's Science Blogging Anthology and Conference

2008 Science Blogging Conference

Not to be bragging, but the '07 Science Blogging Conference was a great success, and most attendees voiced their approval of Chapel Hill as a permanent venue for the event, so Anton and I are starting early in planning for the next one.

There are rumors of a mid-summer equivalent event to be held on the West Coast (Seattle or somewhere there) which would be great - more the merrier - but we will also try to find some way to help a few West-Coasters make their way to North Carolina in winter as well.

We pored over all of your feedback forms and read all the blog posts about the conference in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses and make the next meeting much better.

We are already in talks with sponsors (and potential new sponsors) about the next year. Many have promised greater involvement for the second meeting than they did for the first, which will allow us to have a bigger conference - and that is what most of you asked for.

While several attendees suggested we expand the conference to two days, we are not sure it is feasible yet. Instead, we will make a bigger, richer program for that one day. This should include sessions targeted at new or non-bloggers (e.g,. scientists, teachers), sessions for old science bloggers who want details on fancy technical stuff or questions about copyright, as well as sessions designed to bring the two groups together.

We definitely need a bigger space so we can accomodate more sessions as well as have more space for people to just sit and chat in the hallways between the sessions - always the most important part of a conference. Thus, we will likely have to move away from the UNC campus. That also means that we will be too far away from Franklin Street to go to local eateries for dinner. Instead, we can have the program last a little longer into the afternoon and have the dinner catered (a banquet!) on the site, which will also ensure that we do not all have to break up into little groups but can all stay together (going to town for drinks afterwards will still be possible).

We will announce the exact date shortly. We are trying to avoid conflicts with other popular science, tech, blogging, skeptical and science-fiction conferences, so the date is likely to fall somewhere in-between the SICB Annual Meeting (January 2-6, 2008 in San Antonio, TX) and the AAAS Annual Meeting (February 14-18, 2008 in Boston, MA). As soon as we set the date, we will start contacting potential speakers and session leaders and I'll keep you updated from time to time on this blog.

The Open Laboratory 2007

You may all remember the fast and frenzied way the first anthology was assembled - from the initial idea to sales in a little over three weeks! The Open Laboratory - The Best Writing on Science Blogs 2006 is selling quite nicely (for an online-only book with no marketing) up on After the annual retreat and some initial glitches, the complimentary copies are, I hear, now travelling to their destinations to all the authors included in the anthology. Also, the book should start getting marketed and will show up in independent bookstores pretty soon, and on online booksellers (e.g., amazon) in a few weeks.

So, we are getting ready to start thinking about the next edition. And, having ten months instead of three weeks, we do not need to rush. This way, we can do a much better job. Oh, when I say "we", it is not a Royal We - I really will not do it alone this year. Reed Cartwright and I will do it together. And we enjoy the experience, we may do it again and again and again.

To make it easier for everyone, we have put together an automated Open Laboratory Submission Form. Use this form to nominate a blog post for The Open Laboratory: The Best Writing on Science Blogs 2007. You can nominate as many entries as you wish, written by you or others. Each needs to be originally published as a blog post between 12-20-06 and 12-20-07 to be elligible.

Reed and I will place one or the other of these two cute buttons in the sidebars of a variety of blogs (e.g., on Panda's Thumb, De Rerum Natura, A Blog Around The Clock, BlogTogether, perhaps my old blogs as they still get some traffic, and whoever else wants to spread the word - feel free to steal the button and use it):[Update: You can pick up the code for these buttons here as well as for the buttons declaring that you aready ARE in the 2006 book]:

Open Laboratory Submission Form

Open Laboratory Submission Form

Clicking on the button will take you to the submission form. Reed and I will get e-mail notification every time there is a new entry and we will read them all and jot down some 'notes to self'. Since we have ten months to do this, we will not need a jury of 12 bloggers to help us read all the entries, but do not be surprised if we ask you to vet/factcheck/peer-review a post that is in your domain of expertise (and not ours) later in the year.

So, go back to December 20th, 2006 and start looking through your archives as well as archives of your favourite science bloggers and look for real gems - the outstanding posts. Many have been written recently for the "Science Only Week", or for the "Basic Terms and Concepts" collection.

Try to look for posts that cover as many areas of science blogging as posssible: mathematics, astronomy, cosmology, physics, chemistry, earth science, atmospheric/climate science, marine science, biochemistry, genetics, molecular/cellular/developmental biology, anatomy/physiology, behavior, ecology, paleontology, evolution, psychology, anthropology, archaeology, and/or history of science, philosophy of science, sociology of science, science ethics and rhetorics, science communication and education, the business of science, the Life in Academia (from undergraduate, graduate, postdoc, faculty or administrative perspective), politics of science, science and pseudoscience, science and religion, etc.

Also, try to think of different post formats: essays, personal stories, poems, polemics, fiskings, textbook-style prose, etc. For now, let's assume that color images cannot make it into the book (I'll let you know if that changes) and certainly copyrighted (by others) material is a No-No. Posts that are too heavily reliant on multiple links are difficult to turn into hardcopy as well. Otherwise, write and submit stuff and hopefully one of your posts will make it into the Best 50 Science Posts of 2007 and get published!

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