Saturday, July 31, 2010

Review of Open Science Summit 2010, #OSS2010

I have been attending Open Science Summit 2010 at Berkeley, CA and although not quite finished yet I feel like I can give an overall review of what I thought of the conference. You can check out my individual comments during the conference on Twitter.

I would like to state that in general I am grateful and respect the work that Joseph Jackson and the organizing committee conducted to make this open science conference a reality. It is a tremendous amount of effort and the following is only meant as a constructive criticism for possible open science summit conferences in the future.

  • Bringing together a very intelligent diverse group of speakers. Good mix of policy makers, developers, traditional scientists, biotech, young and old, etc.
  • Great use of technology. Providing a live video stream of conferences is an idea that I wish more conferences implemented. Also, using is a nice additional add-on that couples well with the live video stream.
  • Willingness to try to adapt (as much as possible) to conference attendees comments via twitter, back channel, etc.
  • No scheduled breaks. Breaks are needed for numerous practical reasons: people need bathroom breaks, time to get some fresh air, and time for talks to get back on schedule. Even more importantly, it allows people to mingle. People travel to conferences so that they can get a chance to connect with people face to face (otherwise they would just watch the online feed).
  • No time for Q & A. Questions immediately after speakers not only is informative, but gives a temporary "mind break" for the audience. It also gives time for IT to get the next presentation queued. Note: this did tend to improve as the conference proceeded.
  • Too many speakers. Having 25 speakers in a single day (without parallel sessions) is just too much information for people to take in and sit through.
Additional lessons learned
  • A no slide presentation is not a guarantee that it will be a good one.
  • Videos do not always make a presentation better.
  • Having 2 or more speakers from the same organization or having the exact same opinion is not really beneficial.
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