The first thing to say (after my name) is that my role here is as a representative of the ordinary scientist. I'm not a publisher or an editor or an expert in science communication. I don't have a big lab at a prestigious university. My research is on an evolutionary question, lwhy bacteria exchange genes ("Do bacteria have sex?"), and most people think I'm wrong.
But why me and not some other ordinary scientist? Probably because my lab is doing science in a more open way than most others. This openness manifests itself in several ways:
- First, being as open as possible about what we've done. This means publishing in open-access journals such as PLoS where that's reasonable, and paying large sums for open-access publication of the papers we publish in subscription-based journals. It also means posting pdf copies of our papers on our web pages even where the copyright forms we signed say we mustn't.
- Second, being as open as possible about what we're presently doing. I have a research blog, where I write about the experiments and analyses I'm doing (what I'm going to do today, the results of what I did yesterday). I also write about the other aspects of doing science, but I try to stick to my own research-related experiences. The other members of my lab have research blogs too.
- Third, being as open as possible about what we're planning. So I blog about the grant proposals I'm writing, and when I'm finished writing them I post them on our web pages at the same time that I submit them.
Now, if I only had a printer in my hotel room I could take a copy of this post to the round table. But I don't, so I'd better spend the next few minutes copying out the main points for my 5-minute introduction.