Nautilus

The week on Nature Network: Friday 12 June

This weekly Nautilus column highlights some of the online discussion at Nature Network in the preceding week that is of relevance to scientists as authors and communicators. Readers are welcome to join any of these discussions by visiting the links provided. The Nature Network week column is archived here.

Do you deposit your materials and data in a suitable public resource when you write and publish a paper? You should: some of the reasons for doing so are discussed this week by Chris Taylor and Allan Sudlow , in a conversation that contains links to articles explaining why, for those who need convincing.

Gillian Pepper notes that much of the recent House of Lords debate about the contribution of science, technology and engineering to the UK was not about the contribution of these disciplines directly, but about secondary organizations that highlight and facilitate. Would be more interesting, she asks, to discuss specific emerging disciplines and technologies, what they might contribute and how this can be supported?

The United Kingdom is a world leader in measurement, writes Scott Keir – although measurement is not something that’s often talked about. The National Measurement Office is undertaking a consultation exercise looking ahead at the country’s needs for measurement infrastructure and standards. What are the priorities for measurement research — business competitiveness, sustainability, security, other? Should the government invest in new advanced laboratories? What do scientific institutions requirements for measurement technology and expertise? There are other questions at the National Measurement Office website, and there will be a free event on Tuesday 16 June 2009 at the Royal Society, London, to discuss these issues. Futher details are at Scott’s post.

Also on the topic of priorities, Branwen Hide posts links to a Foundation for Science and Technology event summary and speeches by Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (Chief Executive of the UK Medical Research Council), Sir John Bell (President of the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research) and Sir David Cooksey (Chair, Bioscience Innovation and Growth Team,) on the future for medical research in the United Kingdom.

The old question of extrapolating to a general conclusion on the basis of a certain sample size pops up at Raf Aerts’s blog. If you want to weigh in, there are a couple of views to choose from – or maybe you will have a different perspective from either.

“Why do we go to conferences?”, asks Martin Fenner. Quite a few telling reasons are outlined in the post, along with an update about the Science Online 09 meeting, which Martin is co-organizing.

Further science-related blog reading and online discussion can be enjoyed at:

Planet Nature

Nature.com’s science blogs index and tracker

Nature Publishing Group news at Nature Network

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