How does an innocent scientist learn that bionet exists?

Dave Kristofferson kristoff at NET.BIO.NET
Sat Feb 20 01:11:32 EST 1993

> As someone pointed out in another posting on this tread the first step
> to increasing use of BioSci has to involve getting people to use the
> computer as a general tool. But I think what helped the Arabidopsis
> list grow so quickly and have such great coverage of the Arabidopsis
> community was the demand created by a few of the leading scientist
> using the network, notably Chris Somerville. The Arabidopsis community
> even used the network to hold an electronic for a US national steering
> committee that works with the funding agencies.


You are completely correct here.  All that I can do during my road
shows, etc., is to let people know that this technology exists and try
to get them excited about it.  Each research specialty needs to
coalesce through its own efforts though.  There is no reason why what
happened with ARABIDOPSIS can not happen in other areas as well if
someone initiates the effort.  Once that happens, the other function
that BIOSCI serves is to make the implementation as painless as
possible.  This is why I want to get as many of these things up and
running now before our grant runs out.  If biologists had no choice
but to contend with the standard USENET environment when establishing
newsgroups, the activation barrier would be even higher.  However,
even after we set up a newsgroup and manage the mailing lists, we
can't force people to post messages.  The ultimate success or failure
of each group remains in the hands of each community.

Getting more PI's on the net also means convincing them that this is
not a waste of their limited time.  This is why the specialty groups
need to have a high signal-to-noise ratio where signal means items of
direct interest to their research.  This explains why I pushed hard to
split off bionet.announce from this group a year ago and why I
hesitate to expand the bionet distribution to all USENET sites.  It
also explains my sometimes overzealous policing of these groups 8-).

Dave "your friendly neighbor Nazi" Kristofferson

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