A few days ago, the Guardian ran a Q&A session with Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw. Cox and Forshaw are professors of physics at the University of Manchester, both involved in research with the Large Hadron Collider at Cern. Cox is of course well known for his wonderful media exploits on the BBC. Forshaw and Cox have written a book together, their second collaboration, which is coming out this week.
I wrote a post in the Guardian’s Notes and Theories blog section today, about science, peer review, blogging and being a decent sort of person who doesn’t screw over their colleagues. Go read it here.
To clarify the title, I understand where Brian Cox’s comments stem from, and I agree that some people just need to write a paper to back their claims, or shut up. I refer to Martin Robbins and Ben Goldacre for more info on that. But outside of that particular context, I felt their comments were a little unfair.
I was thinking a little more about blogging and tweeting from conferences, and how we can allow for a free debate at a conference without the science ending up all over the web the next day if the results aren’t ready for that. Perhaps we should instate a code of conduct for blogging form conferences. That could take a very simple form, such as a traffic light banner that presenters can include on their slides or posters:
- Red – please don’t tweet or blog, we want to show our results but aren’t ready to discuss them publicly yet
- Orange – come and talk to me first before you post this online
- Green – safe for blogging.
All we need is a snazzy design and some different formats to people can easily include them in their presentations, and some publicity about this scheme from, say, the American Astronomical Society in time for their January meeting. Any takers?