ScienceOnline: More than a conference

The Finch & Pea would not exist as you know it today if it were not for ScienceOnline. Mike and I liked the pub idea, but also realized that a pub with only two people in it – no matter how interesting. clever, and handsome, was a pretty lousy watering hole. The enthusiasm for our approach to science communication I experienced at ScienceOnline2012 led to the decision to bring on more “staff” at The Finch & Pea and 60% of those additions are folks we only met because of ScienceOnline.

Science Online has not only been a positive force for The Finch & Pea, but for the development of online science communication as a whole. At the Science Writers 2012 conference, the Science Online community clearly represented a cadre of youthful (not necessarily young) and dynamic future leaders for science communication.

Now, they are asking for help to expand that community (not to subsidize the conference):

We established a nonprofit this year and have been hard at work to bring the values of the ScienceOnline community to more activities, tools, and events.

Here are some of the things we have been working on:

  1. Online tools like which is a curation tool for finding good science writing on the web.
  2. Local outreach satellites in cities such as San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, the Bay Area, Denver, Adelaide (Australia). These groups are meeting once a month and livestream their topics and discussions. The archive is available for anyone to benefit from. We are developing a new portal, but you can see find past events on this video archive.
  3. Regional events are being developed because not everyone can come to NC for the annual event (for many reasons). In April 2013 we are having our first ScienceOnlineTeenevent in NYC. With a teen advisory board helping organize, there will be students from both public and private schools in attendance. It’s a great opportunity for outreach and STEM!
  4. We are also developing regional and topic-driven events for 2013 and 2014. One will be in the Midwest, another in Southern California. An ocean conservation event is being developed and will be announced soon.These events help to continue the conversations far beyond the initial once-a-year conference, and we are thrilled to be able to work with so many people across the US and the world to make these happen.
  5. In addition to our annual anthology of the best science writing on the web — The Open Lab– we are working to produce ePublications, workshops, and other training opportunities.

These opportunities are what ScienceOnline has become, and the reason that we are asking for help to develop for the future.

ScienceOnline is first and foremost a community of people (evidenced by the interactions found all year on social media). We hope you will feel welcome to be part of that community. – Karyn Traphagen, Science Online, Executive Director

There is, however, an associated conference in Raleigh from 30 January to 2 February 2013 in Raleigh, NC and The Finch & Pea will be well represented there by Michele Banks and Heidi Smith (fresh off her thesis defense). I will also be there, but the quality of my representation remains an item of debate.

Author: Josh Witten

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