The Library of Alexandria
I have been thinking a lot about science and community. At first I thought that an interesting project to undertake would be one looking to develop a community for scientists around the idea of open access scientific publishing. The general idea was to build a community for scientists to come together and peer review student works for publication. One the model was developed and the community large enough the thought was to then move towards more “serious” publication attempts. After some long and hard consideration I just do not feel that this is a project that makes sense for me to tackle at the moment. Any interest I have in academic publishing would be best served by working within the bounds of the current system and learning all I can from the existing models. I am going to look around for potential jobs in this area as I continue to apply for jobs in the D.C. area.
In the meantime, the idea of building a community for scientists still appeals to me. I looked around a little bit and unless I just flat out missed it, there is no large scale online scientific community centered around discussion and collaboration that encourages the individuals to participate with their real names and credentials available to everyone else to see. There is great value in anonymity online. I truly appreciate this and never want it to go away. However, in some fields and in some discussions identities and credentials do matter. Reddit handles this with posters in their ask science section being labeled with their disciplines and this is absolutely helpful. However, I would like to take it a step further.
I plan to start with a strong focus on recruiting psychologists, mainly because that is the field I am most familiar with and have the most contacts in. The general plan will be to start with the institutions that I have attended and recruit old student friends and professors to join the website and help me start the community. Assuming I can get a handful of members to join and participate I will slowly begin reaching out to other universities and use a two prong approach. I will attempt to contact leaders of student organizations and program chairs/directors. Hopefully I will be able to convey the goal and convince them of its worth. If I can do that I would look to bring in faculty and students from that institution and slowly continue to grow the community this way.
Anyway, come check it out at www.lofa.info