Science Social Networking May 19, 2008Posted by gordonwatts in physics life.
Now. I might be more willing to spend time on a science social networking site. I can’t tell you exactly what it would offer to get me there because I’m not 100% sure what I want (see this comment on previous past). But…
At any rate, I stumbled on this post on Ars the other day:
When it comes to thinking and working internationally, scientists don’t always do as well as other professions. Scientists trained in the developing world often relocate to the US, Europe or other industrialized nations, taking with them their expertise. The New York Academy of Sciences is determined to do something to help less-well-off nations strengthen their scientific institutions and development, and it’s harnessing the internet to make it happen, through a site called Scientists without Borders.
Clearly not aimed at particle physics (hey, I think we do OK on international collaborations!), still, it sounds interesting. At first, it looks like a contact site – you say what you are good at and then when someone comes along searching for a collaborator they might find you. There is an interesting second half to this site:
This tool will eventually create a record of accomplishments that also identifies the next steps for solving specific problems.
That got me to thinking. We already have such a tool in particle physics – the paper archive (arXiv). I think if you built a physics social networking site you’d have to drive it with data from that site. Already, if you have a new idea, you might troll that site looking for others that have done similar things. Then you might read their papers, perhaps follow up with email or a phone call. Then you’d write your own paper. You’d send them an email about the paper (like a social networking notification) and then they would read it and, of course be impressed. After that perhaps the two of you would co-write the next paper and you’d gain entry into this other person’s network of collaborators. Or something. At the moment all that happens by email. Would it be better if it was somehow automated?!? I don’t quite see it. And how should the model be adjusted for experimentalists?
Maybe friendfeed needs to gets links when one of its members posts a paper. 😉