People with expertise in writing or communication and working on the fringes of science, technology and other complex fields are spread thinly across Australia.
We pop up here and there: one operates in the midst of an academic institution, another is embedded in a government department, many are working freelance or in their own business with perhaps 1-2 support staff.
It can feel a bit isolating from time to time.
Enter the twitter chat known as #onsci.
#onsci started in early 2011, and is a monthly chat for scientists and communicators – mostly Australian, but also from other nations – about what’s happening in the public/science interface. It is conducted entirely via twitter, and runs very smoothly thanks to a predetermined topic, framing questions and formal hosting (usually Kristin Alford, or sometimes a colleague).
On that regular Thursday every month, I am part of a live community. Not only that, connections and conversations continue into the days and weeks following a chat session.
Last night was a fascinating #onsci conversation addressing citizen science. As shown in the record of tweets here, we talked about what sort of citizen science projects are currently out there, how embracing citizen science might change the definition(s) we have of ‘scientist’, the role of communications in citizen science, possible limitations of citizen science, and how citizen science intersects with open and civic science.
In previous sessions we’ve also covered:
- Telling Better Science Stories;
- Science and Politics;
- Science and social media;
- Science in primary schools; and
- The future of science online.
The full range of topics and associated blog posts and stored tweets can be accessed here.
Whether you’re a scientist or not, we welcome all newcomers to our final #onsci for 2012 scheduled for 13th December (9-10pm Australian Eastern Standard Time) on the topic of holidays. Does science ever take a vacation?