Julio Peironcely’s blog….

It’s called Next Scientist and it’s here. The content is from multiple authors actually, but Julio edits and curates. I think it’s pretty excellent.

Here’s an entry on creating catchy posters (so you’ll shine in the convention center poster ocean at Society for Neuroscience).

Team science versus Single Investigator

Certainly across biosciences, a notable trend has been the lists of authors for single papers getting longer. This is especially true for the high impact journals and reflects the evolution of the practice of scientific research from individual investigator to large teams of scientists all working on various parts of a single question or problem. Part of this evolution is due to the need to use many methodologies to completely tell a single scientific “story” –in many cases considerably more techniques than any one single investigator can manage.

This team approach has been explicitly pushed in recent years, most saliently by the recently retired NIH director, Elias Zerhouni. There are some real problems however with the team approach. One of the most important is that maintaining quality control over the entire corpus of experiments that make up a team-authored paper becomes potentially challenging. An additional complication is that with large teams, who actually did what becomes opaque to the reviewer.
I’m not advocating a wholesale return to single PI science in biology–the subject matter has become too complex for many questions in the discipline. Rather, I’m urging a renewed appreciation for what can be accomplished in a single PI laboratory, where, in outstanding cases, a single creative mind can design an elegant set of experiments that like a fine gem, outshine the industrial output of large team labs.
Going further, it seems to me that with appropriate Science 2.0 sharing approaches, we may see a new renaissance of individual investigators re-using data produced by very large groups in imaginative ways that lead to real scientific progress.

Arrival at Scifoo

So here I am at the Wild Palms Hotel lobby in Sunnyvale getting ready for the fun to start at Scifoo camp. I got up at 4:30AM this morning to catch a Jet Blue flight at Logan. And all went well for once except for losing a pair of glasses–I’m on the reserve pair.

Thinking about Science 2.0, I keep returning to the notion of provenance of the data–especially for images and movies. It’s a major issue. As important I think as metadata.


Back to the grid

Later this afternoon, I’m headed back to DC from Wintergreen. It’s been an incredibly relaxing week (I finished Obama’s book “Dreams from my Father”) and greatly enjoyed the fact that Ken DeJong, our Associate Director, was running the Institute for Advanced Study with a fine steady hand.

I’m pleased to report that there were no bear sightings this time around, just lots of deer and of course the diversity of warblers that makes the Blue Ridge famous.
In the coming week, I’ll be thinking a lot about the Decade of the Mind initiative in the context of what’s now being called Science 2.0–analogous to Web 2.0. What might “mind sciences” accomplish through greater collaborations, better data-sharing and some powerful databases (like NeuroMorpho.org).