SciFoo is over, and I’ve just arrived back to New Orleans from SF. First of all: a big thanks for the organizers (Chris DiBona, Timo Hannay, Tim O’Reilly, Google, Nature, O’Reilly) and campers, it was really the highest end. Here is a quick SciFoo key terms summary (photos, detailed accounts later):
One of the most frequently used key term was “scientific data”. And the question is: how to collect, upload, organize and index them. With the exponentially increasing data sets, that are produced by scientists worldwide, it is obvious that we need really powerful tools to benefit them. After a couple of beta years it is highly probable that Google (according to its mission statement) will offer new ways to manage the enormous amount of valuable scientific data. Without that, the efficiency of the science industry will dramatically decline.
Yes, the old question ranging from open access science to different pre- and post publishing opportunities, addressing peer-review tools. A new and clear vocabulary is needed. Nature people were honest about the problems, asking for the optimal solutions.
“the geek factor”
Mainstream scientists are rather conservative folks, they can easily have revolutionary thoughts in their niche research fields, but are not too open minded and experimental when it is about new web and technology tools. The alpha geeks from the O’Reilly Media reminded the science population of the SciFoo (not the typical technology neutral mainstream scientists) that there are many innovative things that could be done in and out of science too. (You don’t necessarily need the newest Mac gadgets for that, just try out some mind performance hacks)