PLOS Science Wednesday is a weekly science communication series featuring live, direct chats with PLOS authors on redditscience (/r/science), the popular online gathering place for researchers, students and others interested in science which has over 8 million registered members. The series provides a forum for PLOS authors to communicate their work and interact directly with fellow researchers and the public. As of June 10, this PLOS /r/science AMA series had received over 450,000 views and 1700 questions/comments.
Upcoming PLOS /r/science AMAs:
June 24 ANTIBIOTICS; Miriam Barlow and Juan C. Meza (UC Merced Life Sciences); Reversing Antibiotic Resistance. Read the PLOS One article.
July 1 NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES; Sarah Anne Guagliardo (Emory University) and Amy Morrison (UC Davis); Riverboats, Mosquitoes and the Spread of Dengue in the Peruvian Amazon. Read the PLOS NTDs article.
July 8 LABOR AND DELIVERY; Yujing Jan Heng (Mt. Sinai Hospital, Toronto CA); Threatened Preterm Labor and Spontaneous Preterm Birth: Gene Expression Profile. Read the PLOS ONE article.
July 22 SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY; Todd T. Eckdahl (Missouri Western State University); ‘Programmed Evolution’ – the Use of Microbes for Metabolic Engineering. Read the PLOS One article.
July 29 GLOBAL HEALTH; Sten H. Vermund and A. B.S. Tankwanchi; The Physician “Brain Drain” from Sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. Read the PLOS ONE article.
August 5 ECOLOGY; Laura Jurgens (UC Davis) Patterns of Mass Mortality among Invertebrates on NE Pacific Coastline. Read the PLOS ONE article.
August 12 CLIMATE CHANGE; James Hansen (Columbia University); Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”; Dr Hansen will discuss climate change research conducted since his influential 2013 PLOS ONE article, and current developments in climate science and policy.
August 19 CLIMATE CHANGE; Camilo Mora (University of Hawaii); Climate Change Shortens Growing Seasons; Potential Human and Biotic Vulnerability. Read the PLOS Biology article.
August 26 ANIMAL COGNITION; Corina Logan (University of Cambridge, UK) Modifying Aesop’s Fable Paradigm Change Crow Performances. Read the PLOS ONE article.
Sept 2 NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES; Caitlin Dunn (Carter Center, Emory University) and Kelly Callahan (Carter Center); Model Community-Directed Onchocerciasis (River Blindness) Interventions – Read the PLOS NTDs article, on one of the most successful and cost-effective public health programs ever launched.
Sept 9 GENETICS; Stuart K. Kim (Stanford University); Whole-Genome Sequencing of the World’s Oldest People. Read the PLOS ONE article.
- Rationale and Prospects for a Global R&D Fund to fight Ebola, Antibiotic Resistance & Neglected Diseases — Manica Balasegaram (Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign) and Bernard Pécoul (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative) 6/17/15 AMA archive; PLOS Medicine article.
- Color As a Signal for Entraining the Mammalian Circadian Clock – Tim Brown (Univ of Manchester) 6/10/15 AMA archive; PLOS Biology article..
- Assessing Measles Transmission in the United States Following a Large Outbreak in California – Seth Blumberg (physician/scientist at UCSF) and Jennifer Zipprich (CA state epidemiologist) 6/3/15 AMA archive; PLOS Currents Outbreaks article
- Why Publishing Everything Is More Effective than Selective Publishing of Statistically Significant Results – Jelte M. Wicherts – 5/27/15 AMA archive; PLOS ONE article
- The Extent and Consequences of P-Hacking in Science – Megan Head – 5/20/15 AMA archive PLOS Biology article
- Creating Computational Brain Models for Artificial Intelligence – Jeff Clune, Kai Olav Ellefsen, Jean-Baptiste Mouret – 5/13/15 AMA archive; PLOS Computational Biology article; video summary
- Aquilops, the Smallest, Oldest Horned Dinosaur – Andrew Farke – 5/6/15 AMA archive; PLOS ONE article; author’s introductory PLOS Blogs post and the team story behind this paper
- Open Labware: 3-D Printing Your Own Lab Equipment – Tom Baden and Andre Maia Chagas – 4/29/15 AMA archive; PLOS Biology article
- Open Data Exchange Between Cancer Researchers – Andrew Beck – 4/22/15 AMA archive; PLOS Medicine article
Previous PLOS Science Wednesday /r/science Updates:
June 5, 2015 — We’re pleased with the robust response we’ve received for this pilot PLOS science communication vehicle on redditscience. This community embrace of our authors engaging with their peers in a new venue adds evidence to the view that the scientific conversation has indeed expanded to social media; underscoring the importance for publishers and authors alike to go wherever and everywhere researchers are talking about important new research.
Participating PLOS authors have uniformly offered feedback on the high caliber of questions and comments posed during their AMAs. They also say they’ve had a great deal of fun doing them, while expressing some amazement at the sheer numbers involved in the conversations.
Upon hearing of the 74,000 page views for his May 13 AMA, computer scientist (PLOS Computational Biology author) Jeff Clune sent this message: “Wow… Normally when I give a talk it is to 20-80 people…at a conference perhaps a few hundred. The internet certainly changes the scale of things!”
More good news comes with efforts by the broader PLOS author community to pitch in. Given the impossibility of one author or team answering the 200+ questions typically posed by /r/science members in any given AMA, it’s extremely helpful when other researchers in the same field help out by answering one or more questions during the course of the AMA. Here, for example, is PLOS Computational Biology author Marcel Salathe tweeting his response to an AMA question, one of 432 posed, on the June 3 PLOS Currents AMA dealing with measles and vaccines.
PLOS sees these author AMAs as enhancements to the journal articles on which they are based. They also function as in-depth archived community discussions on important and timely science topics, which are available in perpetuity on the redditscience subthread for all to read and re-purpose. On PLOS journal sites, each PLOS Science Wednesday AMA transcript is linked to the “Related Content” tabs at the top of their respective PLOS articles. We encourage other health and science communicators to take and reuse this content in whatever ways may assist your purposes.
Questions may be posted ahead of and during the AMA and the authors answer on Wed 1–2pm ET. Archives are available for later reading, re-mixing or reuse. Please use the hashtag #PLOSredditAMA when discussing this series on Twitter. You can also download and use the reddit AMA app.
Future AMAs will be posted to this page and announced on Twitter. Featured authors are selected by PLOS editors; PLOS authors or Academic Editors may nominate a PLOS article for this series by emailing email@example.com with the article URL, author(s) and a lay summary (50-100 words) of the research.
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reddit is one of the web’s oldest and largest open source communities, where registered members post links, comment and rate posted items in a wide variety of subject areas. As of March 2015, reddit received more than 6.6 billion page views and 151 million unique visitors. /r/science is a lively 8 million member “subreddit” within reddit. Each subreddit is independent and moderated by a team of volunteers.
As a nonprofit, Open Access publisher with a mission to lead a transformation in scientific communication, PLOS continuously seeks innovative ways to disseminate research and advance science. Initiatives such as PLOS Science Wednesday on redditscience reflect our commitment to expand the impact of research beyond publication, and enable broader community inclusion for commenting and review.
We encourage you to leave your thoughts on PLOS Science Wednesday AMAs and related issues in the comments below.