I wish I was sometimes half as optimistic as most of you seem to be… I didn’t actually win the first round – let’s call it a draw. And though I do intent to win the second round, regrettably that’s far from certain. Still, your encouragement and the fact that you care is nice… And it is hard to find the right words.
People often say that the public personae we project on blogs and social media are too positive. I’m not sure that this is true. But just to be clear: of course, I am scared from time to time. Scared that I will die for instance. Or scared that this cancer thing causes hurt for my Beloved Ones. (Dreaming about my own funeral two nights ago didn’t help.) Or scared that… Mmm, well, actually, that’s it. I think that those are the only two things I’m scared about.
Still, a bit contrary to what some of you seem to think, I’m no superman. Or, if I am (and then I’m sure that you are superman too – or superwoman), I am a Sometimes Scared Superman. Hope that’s fine.
Speaking of superman:
Well, today, I had a PET scan. The bad news is that my lymphoma is back. The good news is that there are still a lot of options for treatment. In fact, there are so many options that it will take a few days to figure out how to proceed exactly…
Most likely, I will only have a light chemo regime for the next few weeks, so I plan not to become mr. Cancer Guy just yet. For now, I assume that I will continue to be around: I will continue to work with my students, my team, … maybe with you? I will continue to write and present. And I will continue to post about that part of my life here too. My job is just too interesting to not do so.
But, when you meet me, you may want to include an extra joke here or there to lighten up the mood a bit. You know, like the one about three cancer patients in a zeppelin who …
Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. This isn’t the beginning of the end. It may not even be the end of the beginning. I guess it’s more like the beginning of Round 2.
And to conclude with the obvious: do give your loved ones an extra hug tonight!
Last week, I spent two days discussing ‘open science’ in an EU meeting, as part of what will culminate in a meeting on “opening up to an ERA of Innovation” next month. We were asked to make suggestions for what the European Commission could do to promote the idea of open science. Most suggestions were about ‘raising awareness’, ‘removing barriers’, ‘creating incentives’, and all these other things that are no doubt very useful, but also, at least to me, rather boring…
So I tried to come up with a very concrete proposal and suggested the following:
I propose that the European Commission takes the bold step to ensure that, before the end of this decade, all metadata about all scientific publications ever published would be put in the public domain.
By all metadata, I mean things like title, authors and affiliations, but also papers cited and papers that cite a paper.
Of course, I don’t mind if the EC collaborates with our friends across the world to make this happen, but it should do this on its own if that collaboration leads to long delays.
And I know that this simple proposal doesn’t realise the vision of Open Science on its own, but I do think it will make innovation possible where it is currently very difficult to innovate because all the data is locked behind the walls of Web of Science or Google Scholar etc.
I understand that there will be some discussion about what exactly is a ‘publication’ but I think we can agree on a working definition.
If there is some budget left, then I would suggest that the European Commission also takes steps to ensure that metadata of new publications will also be added to the public domain. But if that is problematic, then it is better to ‘just’ do all publications until now rather than doing nothing. And if we really want to be bold, then we should try to put all publications in the public domain, but I realise that this is potentially difficult to do in a way that respects the law. (Although we can change the law, no?)
Anyway, my suggestion seems like a simple enough idea, that wouldn’t actually cost all that much. Actually, I have some ideas on how this could be realised ;-) But, above all, I think it would send a clear message that Europe really backs open science, and is willing to invest in concrete steps that enable it. Who could not be in favour of such a proposal?
Today, I spoke at an event on “Social Media and Science – a wedding made in Heaven… or in Hell?” (Spoiler: it’s a wedding made both in heaven and in hell…)
Tomorrow and the day after, I participate in an EU sponsored meeting on “A vision on Open Science in 2030”.
Seems like there’s going to be a theme to this week…