student use of BIONET as a resource (was Re: Kentucky Coffee Tree)

Ethan A Merritt merritt at
Wed Mar 24 15:54:38 EST 1993

In article <1993Mar24.083806.15776 at> samodena at (S. A. Modena) writes:
(>> are quotes from a student asking for help)

>>        I am particularly interested in articles....
>> .....; i.e. those which have been published in various
>>scientific journals.  If any net readers out there know of an article that may
>>be worth checking, please e-mail the reference to me.  It would greatly
>                                                        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>>simplify my search.
>                    Yes, Tim, it certainly would.  :^) But it is net-
>	etiquette impolite for us "professional" biologists to do
>        your Senior research paper for you.........and it's is highly
>	likely that the very professor who gave you that assignment is 
>	*also* a regular reader of *this* bionet newsgroup.


        IMHO you are the one out of line here.  
        I don't see what your objection is to student use of a valuable
research resource: access to BIONET.  Surely we approve of students with the
interest and gumption to seek out advice and pointers from the local faculty
when approaching a new research topic - why should it be any different when
they are asking on the net?  The original poster made no secret of being a
student and asking for help in getting into the basic literature on what I
presume is a new subject to him.  If people don't feel like responding then
fine, but I think both the request and the expectation of response are

        He's not asking someone to write a paper for him; he's asking for a
leg up on basic research.  In what way is this different from asking a
reference librarian for advice on where to start a literature search in the
library?  Or firing up a MEDLINE search?  It seems to me that one of the
most important (if not _the_ most important) function served by BIONET is
easy access to the knowledge held by colleagues you don't know.  As such
it is even more valuable to students, who don't yet have as many personal
contacts to draw on.  If today's students are learning to use this valuable
resource as a familiar tool at all levels then I say more power to 'em!

	If I misunderstand the charter of BIONET, I'm sure I'll hear about
it. Otherwise I'd have to say that honest requests from students are just
as welcome as inquiries from active researchers.

					Ethan A Merritt
Dept of Biological Structure            H510 Health Sciences
University of Washington SM-20          (206)543-1421
Seattle, WA 98195                       merritt at

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