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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Open SOAR

Small world networks Project SOAR is built around the Reading List for students in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Leicester. We have a local origin and we have a hyperlocal component, the Book Group for our students. But Project SOAR is an open project and will invite anyone who is interested in science to participate.

When the website launches on 1st December, it will have social components which take it beyond the local level:
  • Facebook: A presence of Facebook gives us massive outreach, way beyond one institution and one group of students.
  • Friendfeed: Biological Sciences students in Leicester use friendfeed to communicate with each other and with academic staff, so this will be an attractive, low overhead channel for them. But there is an active scientific community on this site, many of who would never venture onto Facebook, so friendfeed gives us an interesting blend of local and remote connections.
  • And - what's missing from this list? We debated whether to create a presence for this project on CiteULike or Mendeley, but after consideration decided that these services wouldn't add much if anything to the site - are we right about this?
We'll be taking advantage of the social features on these sites to hold a conversation about scientific publishing with a much larger group of people than our own students. Apart from the ethics of needing to communicate best practices in science education, this mix of short range (local) and long range (remote) links is what we need to ensure the sustainability of the project.

Project SOAR - coming soon to a social network near you: