“THE SCIENTIFIC PAPER HAS LONG BEEN THE UNIT OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE. NOW, WITH PRINT MEDIA LAPSING INTO OBSOLESCENCE, THE INTERNET IS POISED TO TRANSFORM SCIENCE PUBLISHING AND SCIENCE ITSELF.” (Seed Magazine)
Most media students would hardly consider science, let alone the way new media impacts progress in science. This week’s topic, the generosity of new media, brought to light the way in which new media has contributed to scientific developments.
To be honest, the idea that new media helps in scientific discovery makes complete sense, in the same way we have realised that we depend on new media for a variety of things. It’s not an entirely new idea. However, we never really think specifically of how it would be without new media. Elizabeth Pisani’s article in the Guardian comments on the differences.
“In the early 1980s, geneticists worked away in their different labs, racing to sequence genes and patent them before the neighbouring lab could. The result: duplication, very slow progress and a huge bill. ”
“Nowadays, gene sequences get posted on the web daily and scientists build on one another’s work. The pace of discovery has increased exponentially and, as a result, so have diagnostics and cures.” (Pisani 2011)
The title of her article, “Medical science will benefit from the research of crowds”, hints at micropolitical theory – the power of the people. Most importantly, we see how new media enables scientific knowledge to be quickly discussed and shared. Being a worldwide platform, we also experience efficiency that a printed journal or published document doesn’t provide. But scientists are hesitant to accept these new methods, and scared of the dangers that lurk beneath. Pisani explains that while there is efficiency and the benefit of collaboration, there are fears of people stealing research and claiming it as their own.
Seed Magazine states:
“EMERGING GLOBAL CHALLENGES DEMAND RAPID RESPONSESFROM THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY. THIS CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED THROUGH A REFORMATION OF THE CULTURE AND PRACTICE OF SCIENCE—AND ITS RELATION TO THE WIDER WORLD.” (Seed Magazine)
The fear that Pisani mentions holds scientists back, but in order to progress and have the same impact in the world, it has to change. Andrew Murphie drew upon Keller Easterling’s approach to infrastructure has what controls and defines the past, present and future. This is the idea that our infrastructure, particularly in terms of new media, is determining our future.
I feel the idea that scientists are forced to interact with new media or their research is irrelevant and ineffective is similar to the social status of someone without Facebook. So many people are forced to join Facebook and the social network to stay connected with social activities; if there’s an event on they won’t know about it unless they are invited on Facebook. Andrew Murphie used the example that facebook wants to determine the future of social networks, and this is similar in the science world.
New media once again sticks its nose into everything.
Pisani, Elizabeth (2011) ‘Medical science will benefit from the research of crowds’, The Guardian, January 11, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/medical-research-data-sharing>