I’ve read two great posts in the last couple of days that highlight what the recent debate over the the possibility of ‘arsenic based life’ has shown about how scientists are leveraging the modern web to quickly evaluate, discuss and improve science.
Marc Cadotte, Nicholas Mirotchnick and Caroline Tucker have a great post over at EEB & flow that will fill in the background for you. They use this example as a rallying cry to encourage the use of this new technology to improve the scientific process:
Academics should be the first, not the last, to adopt new communication tools. We are no longer limited by the postal service, email or PDFs; the web has gone 2.0 and we should follow suite. So go forth, young researchers, and blog, edit and share. And then go tweet about it all so your eight year-old kid knows how hip you are.
RealClimate’s piece is more focused on what this recent debate proves about the self-correcting nature of science and thus the inherent lack of vast scientific conspiracies related to things like climate change:
The arseno-DNA episode has displayed this process in full public view. If anything, this incident has demonstrated the credibility of scientists, and should promote public confidence in the scientific establishment.
It ends with a pleasantly sophisticated take* on the complexities of doing science in a world of immediate responses that can occur from across all corners of the web.
They are both definitely worth the read and may well inspire you to run out and join the online dialog.
*In stark contrast to this piece in Nature.