Many early career stage laboratory researchers work in professional isolation, either in small research groups, or part time. The widespread availability of computers means that everyone is in constant contact with everyone else. However, this creates a false impression and the reality is that many junior scientists do not come into daily contact with their scientific peers. For these individuals, the opportunities offered by new technologies could be particularly important for career development.
Although Small Worlds is aimed at laboratory researchers, it is not limited to PhD students alone. We welcome technical staff and academics willing to assist with the professional development of new researchers. Likewise, although Small Worlds is centred on the University of Leicester, it is open to all irrespective of their location, because most of the problems faced by researchers are common to all. Small Worlds is an open initiative with a local flavour. We are able to offer this service by leveraging the power of free emerging web technologies.
Why do we need another site aimed at professional development of research staff? Unlike other initiatives such as Graduate Junction, Small Worlds is based on open tools loosely-joined and is outward-looking. These sites are not mutually exclusive - join both and see which suits you best.
So if you're interested, please join the wiki and create a profile to share your professional online identities on the services (Twitter, delicious, Friendfeed, etc) we are using to build the project. We hope to talk to you soon.