To: HelixGene Genomic Experts
Thank you for adding me to your google group. I am excited to see what topics will emerge on HelixGene Genomic Experts and how the discussions will turn out.
I would love to see any project aiming to build a bridge between popular press and scientists, gain momentum. As I mentioned on the comments to the Gene Sherpa blogpost, I have been wanting to do something similar for some time (SciPhu.com is supposed to be the starting point), but you are in a much better position than me to achieve this. To further the cause, I’d like to share my thoughts on “peer reviewing” popular press scientific information by giving you a short summary of The SciPhu project proposal / business plan:
SciPhu.com shall be a website that brings experts and journalists (or the general public) together to produce accurate scientific information. Experts will be “peer-reviewing” what journalists have written or what a company wants to use as PR-material, and a label would go on the particular text to confirm scientific accuracy. Experts need to be approved, but can be recruited from any part of the world, in any scientific field and, in theory, on most academic levels (skillful grad-students and post-docs could easily participate). Experts could be graded upon the quality of their peer reviews, and such grading could be used as screen to get into doing peer-reviewing for paying customers like news-agencies and company PR-departments (the money incentive to get academics to participate). The website thus, would serve as a 24/7 resource for anyone wanting to do quality assurance on scientific information, some would pay for this service (news agencies, PR-companies/departments) and others would get it for free (institutions, government officials, general public)…
One of the HelixGene Genomic Experts approaches is to grade texts after publication. The other approach like mentioned in your about section, is to act as a liaison between journalists and scientist and this is what I strongly believe needs to be focused on. To that end, I have been looking at HARO (HelpAReporterOut) which is an e-mail group where journalists asks for expert opinions prior to writing their story. Incorporating such services I think could have great benefits (altough the current HARO is focused on life-style/travel and other trivialities of life, rather than hardcore science).
I have more details worked out in my mind and plenty more (premature) ideas, but neither the programming/web skills nor the time to go through with this alone. I’ll just repeat my willingness to contribute and collaborate. I am very happy to see that my thoughts are shared by others.
The goal is accurate information. Information is fundamental in shaping the developments that constitutes our future. This is the time to put some quality control on that information. HelixGene is a call out to all scientists: Participate_in_this_mission.
Nils Reinton, PhD