How does an innocent scientist learn that bionet exists?

Michiaki Masuda masuda at
Wed Feb 17 17:37:40 EST 1993

In article <CMM. at> kristoff at NET.BIO.NET (Dave Kristofferson) writes:

>However, our best source of publicity is quite simply **YOU**!

   I have a rather disappointing experience about this. When I was
scheduled for a regular meeting of our lab, I mentioned about the BIOSCI
referring to your NAR paper. Among a few dozens of members of our lab,
only a single person asked me how to get access to it. Even that person
doesn't seem to be interested in it now.

>> 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.

  I agree with you. In another newsgroup which I participate in, we
occasionally suffer from intrusion by annoying "infantile" posting
or even filthy message of an account hacker. Once an integrity of a
newsgroup is degraded, more and more netters who can live with or
even worsen the degradation start to join, and it seems to be almost 
impossible to restore its function. 

>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.

   Actually, I think that Science is right in its saying that the
public interest is not sufficient enough based on my personal
experiences including the one above. Whether Science should 
publish only something with _sufficient_ interest or not is another
issue, of course.

>  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.

   Probably, it depends on the definition of an "important" role.
If it means something like doubling the number of publication or
an easier way to get a tenure position, perhaps BIOSCI is really 
a fringe.

   I may not be completely understanding the goal of the BIOSCI or the
context of this thread, but I wonder if there is anything wrong
with people's thinking that BIOSCI is a fringe. As I understand it,
the BIOSCI doesn't have to be a network empire as long as those who
want to subscribe to it can do so.

   If we really need to familiarize people with BIOSCI, what about these?

[1] Acknowledge the suggestions and information obtained from BIOSCI
    as such in the paper. This might give an impression that BIOSCI somehow
    helps a paper to come out.

[2] (I'm not sure if it's technically possible or not, but) Post an 
    abstract of a paper in an appropriate group on the net, and mention
    it in the footnote of a printed paper. (E.g., "The abstract of this 
    paper was posted on February 17, 1993 in bionet.virology of the BIOSCI.
    Article I.D.: #####.who at") This might also give an impression 
    that BIOSCI somehow is linked to a publication.

[3] Make some eye-catching "BIOSCI" T-shirts and wear it in the lab,
    at the meeting, and on the beach, of course...

  I hope that the last one didn't jeopardize my sincere posting.


Michiaki Masuda
Laboratory of Molecular Oncology
National Cancer Institute
Frederick, MD 21702-1201
e-mail: Masuda at 

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