How does an innocent scientist learn that bionet exists?

David Kristofferson kristoff at
Thu Feb 18 13:33:04 EST 1993

dan at (Daniel Zabetakis) writes:

>    Getting people to use bionet is a problem. It isn't one that is going
>to be easily solved. This is my experience:

>    There are two kinds of people in bio departments:
>         1) Those who use computers.
>         2) Those who use computers only when they must (like root canals).

>    Of computer users there are two kinds of people:

>        1) Those who read news and subscribe to mailing lists.
>        2) Those who don't.

>   For both questions, group 1 is much smaller that group 2. So those who
>are availible to read bionet are a very small minority. Further, this
>group contains almost no PI's.

I think that you will find quite a few PI's on ARABIDOPSIS, for
example, and I am also extremely optimistic about the proposal for the
Drosophila newsgroup.  It may take another ten years or more, but I
firmly believe that the young people cutting their teeth on networks
now will change this "no PI's" situation dramatically too.

>   But bionet is useful, and so I think it will slowly grow. I don't think
>it will ever become a very important aspect of research. But it will be
>a resource that some people have access to and that others don't.

Readership grew 47% between the 1991 and 1992 surveys.  This hardly
qualifies as slow growth.  If this rate continues we would be over
10,000 readers in about five years.  That would qualify as a decent
circulation for a specialty journal.

I will also note that in our survey of USENET sites, *** many major
Japanese corporations *** were taking the bionet USENET feed.  I find
it rather ironic therefore that in the U.S., NCBI has not always taken
this effort seriously.

>   My suggestion:  Help those who express an interest. Don't sweat it if
>you are the only person in your department who reads bionet.


No need for anyone to get manic about this, obviously 8-).


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