You know that I have been very intrigued by the way the Web is changing the way we use language, especially in science communication, and have inserted my thoughts on that into many a post over the past couple of years. I have also been in a more-or-less continuous communication with Christian Casper over the past several months, for various reasons (including one really fun one – the Millionth Comment party at the Zoo). So, over those months, we came up with the idea for him to do a session, a little more academic in tone than what most other sessions were going to be, on Rhetoric of science: print vs. web
As the interested lay audience is bypassing the intermediaries of the media, who are more often than not, sensationalist and wrong, they increasingly rely on science bloggers, most of whom are actual experts, being scientists, for their science news. Bloggers use different rhetoric than journalists, being both more accurate on facts, and using more approachable and readable language.
At the same time, the rise of Open Access publishing is making primary research available to everyone. Thus, papers originally intended for colleagues as the only audience are now being read by everyone. I was wondering if this will make the language in scientific papers gradually become more readable, especially as new metrics that include traffic, number of downloads and trackbacks replaces the Impact Factor.
But, I had to somehow set the stage for this session. And I mulled a blog post in my head for a long time. Then, with a perfect timing, and containing everything I wanted in there, I posted this, a blog post that was read very widely, I am happy to say.
With that in mind, the session was exactly what I wanted and expected. We had a very interesting discussion about the use of language, mostly between Christian Casper, Henry Gee, Tom Levenson, Leah Gordon, Bob O’Hara, Roger Harris and myself. Check out the wiki page for more details.
Other blogs that mention this session:
Deep Thoughts and Silliness: Semi-live Blogging Scienceonline09: Day 1
Sample coverage of other sessions in this time slot:
Semantic web in science: how to build it, how to use it (this was a Big Hit of the conference):
business|bytes|genes|molecules: download, mirror, fork
Ideonexus: ScienceOnline09: The Semantic Web in Science
Knowledge Sharing: ScienceOnline’09: Semantic Web
Christina’s LIS Rant: Science Online ’09: Saturday AM
Pondering Pikaia: ScienceOnline09 Conference Update
Crowded Head, Cozy Bed: Teaching College Science: Blogs and Beyond
Highly Allochthonous: ScienceOnline Day 1: generalised ramblings
CIT Blog: Ideas for using blogs and wikis in your course
Deep Sea News: Science Online ’09: Blogs in College Teaching
Confessions of a Science Librarian: ScienceOnline ’09: Saturday summary
Expression Patterns: ScienceOnline09 – Day 2
A Fish Eye View: Blogging in the college classroom
Sciencewomen: Alice’s gender and science session: How can we be allies?
Lecture Notes: Gender in Science Section
Lecture Notes: Gender in Science Section Part 2: personal perspective
Adventures in Ethics and Science: ScienceOnline’09: Diversity in science, online and off
Almost Diamonds: Whither Allies
The blog/media coverage linkfest is growing fast (perhaps start at the bottom and work your way up, posting comments on the way and saying Hello to your new friends), there are ongoing discussions on FriendFeed and new pictures on Flickr. Also, if you were there, please fill up this short form to give us feedback, so we can make next year’s meeting even better.