Recently I wrote about the issues of notability for scientists versus porn stars. It seemed to kick off quite a discussion…40 comments, 100 Tweets, comments off my blog on other people’s sites. It got mentioned on Wikipedia Signpost..and I take that as a compliment! There are some comments made on various Wikipedia pages [for example, 1]. Not everyone agreed with what I had to say and I received some GOOD guidance and input about how to improve the articles on Wikipedia that I had been writing. There were some supporting comments about how it was appropriate for me to write about people I know (in regards to the Conflict of Interest on Wikipedia).
When I originally wrote the post I was in a particularly “ranting” type of mood based on a few other things going on in regards to other systems, especially in regards to who makes final decisions. In retrospect some of the issues I blogged about had been brought up in various forms by other people over the years and in some ways my comments were “nothing new”. However, it is clear that the exposure the post got did resonate with a number of people.
I have sat with a number of friends and chatted, over a “cool glass of water” (or more), and chatted about exposure for scientists in general. We chatted about Wikipedia articles, about LinkedIn as a networking site for professionals, about the new systems such as ProSkore, and whether Klout would persist as a system for measuring influence.
Sean Ekins and I have introduced two wikis to the community…one for Scientific Mobile Apps and one for Scientific Databases. One addition to the family of scientific wikis that makes sense, based on the recent experiences with Wikipedia and the discussions around notability guidelines for scientists, is the new wiki ScientistsDB.
This wiki is for ANY scientist to have a wiki page about them online. We have no notability guidelines in place, and hopefully will not need them. Time will tell. The hope is that scientists will contribute their own articles, that the community will also contribute/edit/expand and that ultimately, when the article is in good enough shape, it might be used as the source of an article on Wikipedia. There it can be challenged, discussed, edited and moved through all of the potential phases of a Wikipedia article before it is accepted. We believe that all scientists are entitled to a presence that ScientistsDB can enable. As the data are gathered then we have the possibility of starting to form network maps, relationships and connections that would have been unavailable before. We have a way to introduce scientists working in the same domain, connecting people working on the same classes of compounds, diseases, genes, etc. This is all part of a potential future…for now the Wikipedia articles for scientists (almost 50,000 of them) have been harvested and kept categorized according to Wikipedia categories and all scientists are welcomed to add their own articles. All content is licensed according to CC-BY-SA 3.0.
For now we are starting to get articles. A good model article is from Alex Clark.
We look forward to your thoughts and comments!