This week/weekend I will attend the ScienceOnline2013 conference here in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is my favorite conference of the year, bar none. I feel privileged every time I attend to be surrounded by people who are challenging the status quo and are passionate about making science more available and consumable to their peers and the community. I have met some great people at this conference and every year I walk away tired yet invigorated. I walk away feeling that my own contributions to science, especially my work to enable access to chemistry data, is coherent with the efforts of many of the crowd attending this meeting. The meeting has a commitment to scientific truth, collaboration, communication and openness. YES!!!
While I am a chemist by training what I enjoy so much about the meeting is meeting NON-chemists and learning about their world, their interests, their adventures and challenges. By keeping my head in my own box at many other conferences, primarily chemistry of course, I limit what I can learn from the experiences outside of my domain. ScienceOnline frees me up from these boundaries by throwing me into a mix of wildly different engagement. It is, quite simply, a joy! And coming at the beginning of the year it is the first conference I attend…always good!
The conference is well organized, wall to wall entertainment in various forms (including science comedians!), is socially engaging (lots of opportunities for after hours play!) and is full of “my kind of people”. I am lucky to be so close and, this year, to be able to share space with one of my closest friends. Sean Ekins (@collabchem) and I will host a discussion on “Leading Chemists Into Openness“. Sean and I hung out at the conference last year and it had a good impact on him as he describes here.
If you are attending ScienceOnline2013, are interested in Open Science and the advantages, challenges and “unknowns” of how to get there, then please come and join the conversation. We are the hosts…you define where we go! The slides below are for you to review/consider/digest in advance of the session. See you there???!!!