Acknowledgement of Bionet

Una Smith smith-una at
Wed Feb 24 11:02:34 EST 1993

In a previous article, kristoff at NET.BIO.NET (Dave Kristofferson) says:

>>Something like the following would be appreciated:

>>We acknowledge the use of the BIOSCI electronic newsgroup network,
>>supported in Europe by the Seqnet facility at Daresbury, U.K. and in
>>the U.S. by the National Science Foundation with contributions from
>>DOE and NIH.

ccy at po.CWRU.Edu (Cheung C. Yue) writes:

>I too found BIOSCI of great benefit.  However, much of the information 
>I haven obtained through Bionet are basically referrals to other 
>publications which I have missed.  Unfortunately if I were to refer
>to the idea/technique in question, I would have to refer to the original
>publication, and not to the posting on Bionet which led me back on track.

There is a difference between citations and acknowledgements.  It is 
appropriate to acknowledge significant assistance of any form.  Since
I am not an e-mail subscriber, I do not find that BIOSCI has assisted
me in my research, but I will certainly acknowledge both those people
who have helped me, and the venue through which I received their help,
when appropriate.  

In a paper I published two years ago, my acknowledgement included a
statement something like "This paper would not have been possible 
without the extensive instruction from and discussion with the many 
subscribers to the SAS-L electronic mail discussion group, a public
forum..."  I also acknowledged, separately, a number of people who
helped me, both via SAS-L and otherwise, without specifying how they
communicated their information.  The STAT-L group has also been of
significant value to me *as a group*, and in a paper that I am now
writing I acknowledge both of these groups.  I also acknowledge one
person whom I met through bionet.biology.computational, but I don't
feel that the newsgroup per se has contributed to my paper.

People who provide references and other assistance on a specific,
personal basis should be acknowledged by name, and I think that is
sufficient.  If I talk to someone at a conference, and gain a key
insight, that person is due credit, but not the conference.

Acknowledgement of a newsgroup or mailing list, just like a workshop
or conference, would be appropriate when the author has benefitted
greatly from a general discussion of wide significance and carried on
by a number of participants whose individual contributions may not have
been sufficient to warrant a personal acknowledgement.


      Una Smith      Biology Department       smith-una at
                     Yale University
                     New Haven, CT  06511

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