RFD: biz.biotech.*

Jeff Rawlings rawlings at silcom.com
Fri Mar 31 19:26:13 EST 1995

Request for Discussion: creation of biz.biotech.*

[Note: all follow-ups have been redirected to biz.config]


This is a formal Request for Discussion about the creation of newsgroups
in a biz.biotech.* hierarchy. Currently, Usenet and bionet have many
forums for the discussion of research in biology, among both professional
scientists and the lay public. Such newsgroups include the sci.bio.* and
bionet.* hierarchies. All of these forums, however, exclude types of
communication which are important for life science research community as a
whole. Examples of forbidden communications include:

   -Discussions of products among researchers and vendors;
   -Discussions of how to commercialize researchers¹ work;
   -Discussions about business issues in biotechnology;
   -Announcements of many important scientific resources.

Mailing lists such as biomarket and biz-biotech address some of the gaps;
however, email is not an ideal medium for forums among large groups of
people. Biz-biotech has had a hard time keeping up with the volume of
subscribers, and the lack of threading capability in most email programs
is a serious drawback. There is widespread consensus on the biz-biotech
list that newsgroups for the business of biotechnology are desirable, and
will meet needs that remain unfulfilled.

With this in mind, I am proposing the creation of newsgroups in a
biz.biotech.* hierarchy.

Newsgroup Proposals:

  biz.biotech.announce (moderated): This group will be an appropriate 
     forum for all announcements of interest to the life science research 
     community, including the commercial, academic, and governmental 
     sectors. Examples of such announcements include conferences and 
     exhibitions, new products, new information resources, technology 
     transfer and strategic partnering opportunities, and anything else of 
     widespread interest to the community. This group is moderated to 
     ensure a low-noise, high-content environment.

  biz.biotech.general (unmoderated): this group will be for discussion of 
     any issues related to biotechnology and its intersection with 
     biological research as a whole. Possible topics include: regulatory 
     issues; ethics; technical issues related to products, methods, and 
     reagents; partnering; technology transfer; manufacturing practices; 
     funding and venture capital; and marketing. Each of these topics 
     could conceivably support its own group, and I anticipate proposing 
     such groups as traffic warrants.

Rationale and Supporting Information:
I. Structure of the hierarchy. I believe the proposed naming and structure 
  will allow for the successful creation and future expansion of the 
  biz.biotech forums. This structure gives us both announcement 
  (moderated) and discussion (unmoderated) groups. While keeping the 
  number of initial groups to two, this naming will also allow for 
  expansion as needed, with the possibility of future groups such as 
  biz.biotech.methds-reagnts, biz.biotech.tech-transfer, 
  biz.biotech.regulations, and biz.biotech.partnering.

II. Compatibility with existing Usenet newsgroups. The anticipated content 
  for the two proposed groups has been explicitly rejected by the bionet.* 
  newsgroups, and, given its commercial nature, is clearly inappropriate 
  for the sci.bio.* groups as well. In fact, by creating an appropriate 
  solution for the unfulfilled needs of a third of the life science 
  research community, these groups might significantly help bionet and 
  sci.bio maintain their non-commercial status.

III. Demonstrated need. I have received dozens of responses to queries,  
  in several forums, about creating biotech newsgroups. They are 
  universally (and often vigorously) supportive of the creation of the 
  biz.biotech.* newsgroups. Two weeks ago, the biz-biotech mailing list 
  had over 1500 subscribers. In addition, as many as 40% of the posts to 
  bionet.methds-reagnts come from researchers who are seeking information 
  that vendors could provide, but are unable to in those forums. 

IV. Schedule and details. I am willing to moderate biz.biotech.announce 
  and to maintain a FAQ for the biz.biotech.* hierarchy. I am actively 
  seeking backup moderators or co-moderators - if anyone would like to 
  help, I gladly accept. If this proposal generates sufficient support and 
  the discussion satisfies any criticisms, I would like to issue the group 
  creation messages on April 21. 

Thank you for your consideration and support.

--Jeff Rawlings
proposed moderator, biz.biotech.announce 
proposed maintainer, biz.biotech.* FAQ
rawlings at silcom.com                              Internet Consultant
rawlings at cco.caltech.edu                         Research  Biologist

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