How does an innocent scientist learn that bionet exists?

Dave Kristofferson kristoff at NET.BIO.NET
Wed Feb 17 14:59:46 EST 1993

> How does an innocent scientist learn that bionet exists? I think only

We have been trying to promote BIOSCI/bionet through articles in print
journals and by giving presentations at major meetings.  I will be
giving several of these this year in the U.S. and Alan Bleasby from
Daresbury carries the torch in Europe.  I will be announcing a BIOSCI
event at the upcoming FASEB meeting in New Orleans soon.
Unfortunately most of the other major meetings in the U.S. are not
until the latter half of the year.

However, our best source of publicity is quite simply **YOU**!  Every
month we post the BIOSCI info sheet on BIONEWS/bionet.announce.  Why
not take a copy and post it on your department's bulletin board??
Anyone in business will tell you that your best advertising comes from
your satisfied customers.  If you are concerned that not enough
people know about BIOSCI, please help spread the word at your site.
This would take very little time to do.

> a few people have stumbled across the NAR paper last year, and
> of these, even less know what "News" or "email" are (at least in

and this is exactly why I doubt that simply including bionet as a
standard USENET distribution will solve this problem.  What it will do
is alert all of the nonbiologists without really reaching the people
that we need to target.  For those who do read, you may recall
that I do occasionally post info about BIOSCI there, but not on a
regular basis.  I think we would all suffer if the bionet hierarchy
became like, and enough people have sent comments to me in
agreement that this is not just my personal attempt to impose my will
on this newsgroup hierarchy (contrary to the belief of some).

I have been trying to get an article about BIOSCI in a wide
circulation journal such as Science for some time now, but every
contact that I have opened at Science has rejected the idea as not
being of sufficient interest or gave some other excuse.  Perhaps
people should start sending in letters to the editor at Science
mentioning how useful BIOSCI is to them and encourage them to do a
story on it.  We do not have an advertising budget and can not afford
to pay for a prominent ad in Science.  Right now the people there seem
to think that BIOSCI is used by only a fringe and that it has not
played an important role in anyone's research.  I know from personal
experience at NIH that, while BIOSCI has some strong backers there,
there are other very influential people who would probably promote the
view of BIOSCI's lack of seriousness/utility.  I wouldn't be surprised
if this might also influence the attitude at Science because this
would be one of the first places at NIH that a Science reporter would
probably go to expand on their story.

> Germany I feel people are quite ignorant of this). I have learned
> of bionet by chance when I got the possibility to read news
> (this is a student's account). But I agree with Tom that many
> people out there do not know about bionet (and at least some
> of these who know ask "why should I waste time with this stuff?").

Good question ... if you can't convince them through your personal
experience, it will be just so much harder for us to do.

Everyone should remember that this is *your* network.  The readers
decide on which newsgroups to create and are responsible for the
content.  If each of you took just ten minutes to print out the next
copy of the BIOSCI info sheet and post it prominently in your
department (better yet ****speak up**** to everyone at a departmental
seminar about it), it would probably do more good than several
expensive ads in Science.

We all get a lot out of the network; perhaps now is a great time to
take ten minutes and give something back.


				Dave Kristofferson
				BIOSCI/bionet Manager

				kristoff at

P.S. - in line with the upcoming Clinton speech tonight:  "Ask not
what your network can do for you ... ask what you can do for your

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