The Thoughtful Animal

Big Open Lab Announcements!

i-84d73781881daca3e6a7997821fda019-openlabalfinalproofcflat-thumb-500x754-60198-thumb-200x301-60199.jpgFirst, the first couple of reviews of the 2010 anthology are now out: by Dr. Alistair Dove at Deep Sea News and by Ariel Carpenter at USC News. Check them out. If you have read the book and have a place to publish a review, we’ll appreciate it – just send us the link.

Second, I am very excited to join Bora in announcing the Guest Editor for the 2011 edition: Jennifer Ouellette (blog, Twitter). I am sure that Jennifer will do a fantastic job putting together the sixth edition of the anthology! I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Third, after five years of self-publishing the anthology through Lulu.com, the Open Laboratory now has a real publisher! (You remember those, right?) I’ve known about this for a while, but I’m glad I can finally share the news:

The sixth anthology will be published by Scientific American Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Jennifer and Bora will work with Amanda Moon, Book Editor at Scientific American and Senior Editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, on producing the next volume.

What does this mean for you?

As Bora has explained:

The first phase of the production of the book will remain the same. You will keep submitting your own and other bloggers’ work via the same submission form. I will keep posting the growing list of submissions every Monday morning.

At the end of the year, some time in December, we’ll close the submission form as we always do. Jennifer will devise the judging methodology and will ask a group of bloggers, writers and scientists to serves as judges, to help us go through hundreds of entries at a fast pace. Thus the crowdsourced, community aspects of the book will remain intact.

Once the final decisions have been made and 50 essays, one cartoon and one poem are chosen for the inclusion in the book, Jennifer, Amanda and I will work closely with the authors to edit, copyedit and proofread the entries until they are in a perfectly publishable form (but without losing the webby ‘feel’). Then the project will get turned over to the professionals for design, typesetting and marketing – the aspects of publishing that were always the hardest for us to do as amateurs until now. Also, though Open Laboratory is a brand in our small circles (and quite popular there – see #openlab hashtag on Twitter), we may need to change its name to something more broadly marketable – but that is far from final yet, more information to come later.

This process lasts a little bit longer when done professionally, so we expect the book not to get published early in the year as before, but rather in early Fall, perhaps September, just before people start shopping for the holidays.

I feel strongly that this would never have been possible without the incredible support that Open Lab has received over the year from the science online community. And – especially – the hours and hours of work and love and devotion that the editors have poured into this project each year: Reed Cartwright, Jenny Rohn, Scicurious, and of course production editor Blake Stacey, and Series Editor (and The Blogfather), Bora (with some extra motivation behind the scenes from – who else? – Anton Zuiker).