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.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.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.
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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