Can (and should) crowdsourced citizen science projects tap into the enthusiastic occasional workforce of amateurs? Are community groups based around hobbies (e.g. based around photography, reading or knitting) a good way to reach ‘new audiences’, especially for projects aiming to getting people discussing science in society issues? Should the science communication work of scientists, especially blogging, be seen as a hobby or part of their dayjob (or is such a distinction a silly idea in the first place?). Join our panel for these questions, ideas, interesting people, cake and debate.

Talkfest is free and open to all, but please do register in advance:

Day 1

2 Sept 2011

8.30 – 9.30 Arrival and Registration

9.30 – Welcome

9.45 – 10.15 Keynote: Michael Nielsen – Open Science

10.15 – 11.15 Panel #1 : Linking with the Literature – the Arsenic Story

How to engage with the peer-reviewed literature: strategies for fellow researchers, science journalists and bloggers. A look at how this was handled in a controversial example from last year – the #arseniclife story.


11.15 – 11.45 Tea / coffee break

11.45 – 12.45 Breakout sessions #1 – chosen from wiki:

  • Blackawton Bees – Beau Lotto
  • Can we develop something like to encourage data sharing and reuse? – Tomi Kauppinen
  • National Undergraduate Bioscience Research Journal – Neil Morris, Cathy Kennedy
  • If you build it – APIs and developers – Chandran Honour ( and Ian Brown (Mashery)

12.45 – 2 Lunch

2 – 3 Breakout sessions #2 – chosen from wiki:

  • The importance of offline communities in online networking – Eva Amsen, Paula Salgado, Jesus Rogel-Salazar
  • Bridging the divide: Building around the PDF – Steve Pettifer, Philip McDermott
  • Microattribution – Martin Fenner, Mike Peel, Bora Zivkovic, and Scott Edmunds
  • Science Question Time – bringing policy to Science Online – Imran Khan, Alice Bell, Beck Smith

3 – 4 Breakout sessions #3 – chosen from wiki:

  • Microsoft Academic Search – Alex Wade
  • Open Research Reports: a model for open access to key facts within subscription journals – David Shotton, Tanya Gray
  • So many ways to tell a story – Anton Zuiker, Bora Zivkovic
  • How are wikis being used to carry out and communicate science? – Michael Peel, Hennry Scowcroft, Alok Jha

4 – 4.30 Tea / coffee break

4.30 – 5.30 Panel #2: Incentives – “What’s in it for us?”

How can / should we reward best practices and behaviour in online research and communication? What are the levers to push to answer the “what’s in it for me” question at the bench and also in the blogging community? This panel will pull together a diverse array of opinions from both commercial and non-profit stakeholders, funders and researchers to look at the social issue surrounding how people behave and engage in online science environments.

Moderated by Cameron Neylon, STFC, Science in the Open


5:30-5:45 Wrap Up

7 – ? Fringe event: sameAs – a science and technology meetup run in London by Kaitlin Thaney and Matt Wood. . Planned for the night – a geeky, science-themed pub quiz at Juno in Shoreditch. All are welcome. More information [here[(], register here.

Day 2

3 Sept 2011

9.30 Welcome

9.45 – 10.45 Panel: Dealing with data

This panel will look at how data is transforming and affecting scientific research and communication, from data visualisation in the media to data-intensive science in various fields. We’ll hear from leading scientists, media organisations such as The Guardian, and experts in infrastructure about their take on working with data in the digital age and how the way we interact with information is changing.

Moderated by Kaitlin Thaney – Digital Science


10:45 – 11.15 Keynote: MaryAnn MartoneNeuroscience Information Framework (NIF)Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation (SMA)

MaryAnn will set the tone for the workshops and explain the current limitations and need for better use of tools and information in the context of SMA, a rare disease that afflicts infants and toddlers, and how she’s working to move closer to a cure.

11.15 – 11.45 Tea / coffee break


There will be four concurrent workshops, each broken into 90 minute segments. Delegates can pick two of these to work on. The second set of workshops in the afternoon allows delegates to work on an area at a more advanced level, if desired. Each of the workshops will use information relevant to SMA / disease research, with the aim to present the output of the workshops at the close of the day.

  1. Data visualisation – Jer Thorpdata artist in residence, New York TimesA tutorial in Processing.js, showing how even non-programmers can visualise information (in this case, relevant to rare and neglected disease) in new and novel ways using Processing – an open source visual programming language.
  2. Beyond scholarly publication – led by Martin Fenner, (PLoS bloggerHannover Medical School) with Eva Amsen (The Node); Brian Mossop (PLoS);This workshop will tie together a number of concepts raised at last January’s “Beyond the PDF” conference, looking at how we can move beyond a static PDF journal article and can redefine both our writing tools and the format of the scholarly paper. This workshop will showcase Scholarly HTML and participants will learn to use blogging tools to write content that is interesting, enriched with multimedia, collaborative, and semantically enhanced.
  3. Online Communication Tools – led by Lou Woodleynature.comThis workshop will start with how to get the most out of online communication tools such as Google+, Twitter, and 3rd party twitter tools such as Storify and dipity. We’ll also mention account management tools including CoTweet and Tweetdeck. We’re able to cover all angles from how to practically use the tools most beneficially in an institutional or academic environment, to how to measure their impact via statistics and online “kudos” tools. Please do come with your own goals and questions and we can tailor the workshop accordingly.
  4. Dealing with Data using Synapse – led by Adam Margolin and Nicole Deflaux (Sage Bionetworks), Benilton Carvalho (Cancer Research UK)A hands on data-wrangling session, using Synapse, a data platform crafted by the team at Sage Bionetworks. This tutorial will not only introduce participants to the platform itself – a lightweight architecture – but also expose the issues surrounding data analysis in the life sciences through concrete examples and exercises. This workshop will include some scripting in R, but curious non-developers are encouraged to attend.

11.30 – 1 Level 1 sessions

1 – 2.30 Lunch

2.30 – 4 Level 2 sessions

4 – 4.30 Tea / coffee break

4.30 – 6 Showcase presentations from each workshop

6 pm Wrap Up / Closing

4 September 11 am – 6pm Fringe event: London Binary Battle hackathon – the theme of the day is the Mendeley/PLoS API Contest, but all science hackers are welcomed. Organized by Martin Fenner, hosted by Mendeley. Attendance is limited to 25 people, please register at