Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time is of the essence

ScienceGist I don't think there was a single session at #solo13 where time was not mentioned as an obstacle to getting more of what we want.

ScienceGist (tagline: "Simplifying science") aims to demystify scientific papers by publishing easily understandable summaries. The project is the outcome of a hackday earlier this year. It's very early days for ScienceGist, and there's a limited range of content there at present, for example, Plant Biology such as this.

I like the idea of ScienceGist a lot. But there's a problem. The site is in competition with Wikipedia, reddit, Buzzfeed, etc, and compared to those sites it is a minnow. Brain Kelly quoted this yesterday:

"as Cameron Neylon had said in the “Wikimedia UK Annual Review 2012-13″:
“If you’re serious about ensuring public engagement in your research then you need to make damn sure your work can be incorporated into Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the most important engagement channel for your research."
(The Wikipedia Editing Workshop Session at the SpotOn 2013 Conference)

So far I have only reposted content I have written for other sites. Since both are published under a CC license this isn't a problem, but if I wasn't already writing this content for another site, would I have time for ScienceGist, good as it is?

One thing I've learned about curation is to find a model that works for me and not to try to do everything. In cutting back to a single channel, popularity has to be a key feature. I really like ScienceGist, but they've chosen a hard furrow to plough.

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