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Lpsc Policies
Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Feb 10 2006, 05:51 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 10 2006, 04:25 PM)
Bruce et al.: I've just exchanged several emails with Steve Mackwell of LPI, who is one of the conveners of LPSC.  He told me that the prohibition on recording was not intended to limit the activities of the press, only others who have more nefarious designs on other people's research (though he did not go into detail about that).  So as long as your intent is to share the info with the public, you're copacetic.  He invited any member of the press who had concerns about the policy to contact him directly.

Just out of curiosity, does that mean that media covering the event have to get prior approval for recording?

And a rhetorical question(s): How is LPI going to filter out those with the "intent to share the info with the public" from those with "nefarious designs on other people's research"? In fact, if the latter get the info from the former, which is not an impossible scenario, wouldn't the effect be the same?

Frankly, I think LPI should just scrap the whole policy, which will probably end up making the perceived "problem" worse, or else just restrict the conference to participants only and make them all sign non-disclosure agreements. cool.gif
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elakdawalla
post Feb 10 2006, 10:26 PM
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QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Feb 10 2006, 09:51 AM)
Just out of curiosity, does that mean that media covering the event have to get prior approval for recording? 

And a rhetorical question(s): How is LPI going to filter out those with the "intent to share the info with the public" from those with "nefarious designs on other people's research"?  In fact, if the latter get the info from the former, which is not an impossible scenario, wouldn't the effect be the same?
*

I don't think prior approval is required. When you register as press (which I always do now because it's free that way smile.gif), your badge usually has a bright ribbon on it that says "PRESS" which makes you pretty obvious. I think that people who organize these conferences don't really think of them as venues for public information -- what they really are, are venues for scientists to get together to meet and talk and discuss each other's research, and the public coverage is just something that happens without anybody really paying much attention to it. DPS and AGU both organize press conferences, but LPSC doesn't. I think there's no way of preventing news from coming out of it, since the abstracts are a matter of public record. I think most researchers are of two minds when it comes to public coverage -- they are delighted when people pay attention to their research, but are worried about how public coverage will affect their ability to get it published, especially if it's sensational stuff like new planets or life on Mars. And they also just don't anticipate, or don't know how to deal with, the possibility of their comments being taken out of context. When you walk up to a scientist with that big PRESS badge the stakes suddenly get higher, and lots of people get nervous. Which I find a funny turning of the tables because I was always so nervous about approaching these Big Important Scientists when I was a student and also when I was starting out at the Society.

--Emily


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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Feb 11 2006, 01:18 AM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 10 2006, 10:26 PM)
I think that people who organize these conferences don't really think of them as venues for public information -- what they really are, are venues for scientists to get together to meet and talk and discuss each other's research, and the public coverage is just something that happens without anybody really paying much attention to it.

To save space, I snipped the bulk of your post in reply. However, I don't disagree with anything you wrote. And you made very good points.

I guess what I'm driving at is that I'd be surprised if a truly unscrupulous individual is going to be deterred by LPI's "no recording" policy, especially if exceptions are going to be made for the press.

If, as it seems to be the case, that conference participants are worried about their data or results being hijacked, misused, etc., before publication, then the best defense, it seems to me, is for them to keep quiet. After all, how many conference abstracts did Malin and Edgett present on the martian gullies before having the results published in Science?
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Feb 11 2006, 01:28 AM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 10 2006, 04:25 PM)
(Should this discussion be moved to its own thread somewhere?)

Since I hijacked it, I think it should be, FWIW. And since Jason has moderator priviliges, maybe he or the powers-that-be can spin it off into another thread, say, "LPSC takes a cue from the Supreme Court and bans all recording devices," or something like that tongue.gif
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volcanopele
post Feb 11 2006, 08:14 PM
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Discussion of policies and guidelines for the Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference are being moved here.


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Guest_RGClark_*
post Feb 19 2006, 09:24 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 10 2006, 04:25 PM) *
Bruce et al.: I've just exchanged several emails with Steve Mackwell of LPI, who is one of the conveners of LPSC. He told me that the prohibition on recording was not intended to limit the activities of the press, only others who have more nefarious designs on other people's research (though he did not go into detail about that). So as long as your intent is to share the info with the public, you're copacetic. He invited any member of the press who had concerns about the policy to contact him directly.

(Should this discussion be moved to its own thread somewhere?)

--Emily


Emily, there are two reasons for presenting at a conference: one is to put the research out there so that other scientists can build on that research and further advance the science, and two is to give the presenters some "priority" for some original discoveries.
With either of these reasons, you can hardly blame other scientists if they take the research further than you did with your research. You CAN blame them if they don't mention your research in their publications.
Perhaps some alleviation of the problem will come from an agreement that scientists who publish first in a peer reviewed journal on the topic will acknowledge that the impetus for the research came from what was presented at a conference by other scientists.
Perhaps Alex or other planetary scientists know of a case where someone took the data and "ran with it" (to a journal) before the original scientists could publish it. The only case I know of close to this is the discovery by Brown et.al. of a large Kuiper belt body that was appropriated by another team.


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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Feb 21 2006, 06:11 PM
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QUOTE (RGClark @ Feb 19 2006, 09:24 PM) *
Perhaps Alex or other planetary scientists know of a case where someone took the data and "ran with it" (to a journal) before the original scientists could publish it.

Frankly, I don't think there are any egregious examples of someone "stealing" someone else's ideas at a planetary science conference, whatever "stealing," in this context, means. In fact, most planetary scientists who make revolutionary discoveries (i.e., the type that make the cover of Science or Nature) usually don't blab about the results in open venues like LPSC unless they are assured of publication.
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elakdawalla
post Feb 21 2006, 06:31 PM
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QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Feb 21 2006, 10:11 AM) *
Frankly, I don't think there are any egregious examples of someone "stealing" someone else's ideas at a planetary science conference, whatever "stealing," in this context, means. In fact, most planetary scientists who make revolutionary discoveries (i.e., the type that make the cover of Science or Nature) usually don't blab about the results in open venues like LPSC unless they are assured of publication.

I do, however, know of a few scientists who are excessively paranoid about this prospect. But you're right, the paranoid don't usually 'blab' until they're very ready to publish (much to the frustration of their poor students who may want to finish their dissertations, present their work, and move on)!

The irony that I find in this is that I've been accused of "scooping" a scientist, or facilitating that scooping just by talking about pictures from a public website with other scientists, and of course in this arena I'm not a scientist, I'm "press," much as I dislike the label. Some people are just nuts, and there's nothing you can do about it.

--Emily


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Rob Pinnegar
post Feb 22 2006, 02:13 AM
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It does happen though. I know a couple of people from my old department at Western Ontario who have made the mistake of talking about ideas while at conferences, and have then seen those ideas show up in journal publications -- written by the same people who were present at the conference-gone-by.

By that time, of course, their own papers would be just about ready for submission. But submission to the trash can doesn't count in grant proposals, unfortunately.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Feb 22 2006, 07:40 AM
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Sounds like the sort of thing Lobachevsky used to do in the Tom Lehrer song.
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Guest_RGClark_*
post Feb 22 2006, 02:52 PM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Feb 22 2006, 07:40 AM) *
Sounds like the sort of thing Lobachevsky used to do in the Tom Lehrer song.


Funny song:

Tom Lehrer -- Lobachevsky.
http://www.vigils.net/~xpaul/lobachevsky.mp3


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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Feb 22 2006, 05:21 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 21 2006, 06:31 PM) *
The irony that I find in this is that I've been accused of "scooping" a scientist, or facilitating that scooping just by talking about pictures from a public website with other scientists, and of course in this arena I'm not a scientist, I'm "press," much as I dislike the label. Some people are just nuts, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Which is why I think Mackwell's reasoning to you regarding LPI's "no recording policy" at LPSC may not be, to put it charitably, the whole story. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I'll reiterate that I find it ludicrous that, at an event with hundreds of participants, allowing the handful of press attending the event the ability to record while simulataneously barring everyone else is somehow going to prevent the "scooping [of] a scientist." Again, I think the real reason for the policy is that some conference participants are afraid that their presentations may come back to haunt them (e.g., by turning up on some version of "America's Funniest Home Videos," being parodied by Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show," etc.). Indeed, I'm sure that LPI is glad that no one recorded the (near) melee at a previous LPSC regarding the ALH84001 debate.
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Rob Pinnegar
post Feb 22 2006, 06:35 PM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Feb 22 2006, 12:40 AM) *
Sounds like the sort of thing Lobachevsky used to do in the Tom Lehrer song.

Yeah. My dad's got that guy's records, including the one with "Lobachevsky". A real pity that he retired from song writing in the early 70s (though he did have his reasons).

[Edit: A melee at a science conference? That would *definitely* make America's Funniest Home Videos.]
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elakdawalla
post Feb 22 2006, 06:47 PM
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QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Feb 22 2006, 09:21 AM) *
Which is why I think Mackwell's reasoning to you regarding LPI's "no recording policy" at LPSC may not be, to put it charitably, the whole story. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I'll reiterate that I find it ludicrous that, at an event with hundreds of participants, allowing the handful of press attending the event the ability to record while simulataneously barring everyone else is somehow going to prevent the "scooping [of] a scientist." Again, I think the real reason for the policy is that some conference participants are afraid that their presentations may come back to haunt them (e.g., by turning up on some version of "America's Funniest Home Videos," being parodied by Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show," etc.). Indeed, I'm sure that LPI is glad that no one recorded the (near) melee at a previous LPSC regarding the ALH84001 debate.

smile.gif Then there's always the famous "Bolshevik" shouting match, which, I believe, happened at an LPSC gone by, or perhaps at the Microsymposium that precedes it. I was (un)fortunately not a witness to this one, so I am not going to relate the secondhand details, except that the person who told me the story did a fine impression of a Russian scientist's accent when he responded to pointed criticism of his paper on Venus mapping by another scientist: "In Russia, ve have names for people like you. Ve call them Bolsheviks!"

I would love to see Jon Stewart show ANY clip from any of these kinds of meetings. I loved it when he covered the Stardust sample return. He talked about the return, and mentioned the millions of tiny dust particles, and then said he had film of them opening the capsule, and he cut to that scene from Annie Hall in which Woody Allen sneezes upon opening a tin of cocaine. It was pretty funny.

--Emily


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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Feb 22 2006, 07:40 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 22 2006, 06:47 PM) *
smile.gif Then there's always the famous "Bolshevik" shouting match, which, I believe, happened at an LPSC gone by, or perhaps at the Microsymposium that precedes it. I was (un)fortunately not a witness to this one, so I am not going to relate the secondhand details, except that the person who told me the story did a fine impression of a Russian scientist's accent when he responded to pointed criticism of his paper on Venus mapping by another scientist: "In Russia, ve have names for people like you. Ve call them Bolsheviks!"

laugh.gif I hadn't heard that one. I guess with your Brown University (and, by extension, Vernadsky Institute) connection, you must have a storehouse of Russo-American anecdotes. biggrin.gif Now I have heard vague accounts of pre-Glastnost science conferences where the epithet "commies" was purportedly thrown about.

As for the (in)famous ALH84001 spectacle at, I believe, either the 1997 or 1998 LPSC, my understanding is that the "debate" between the opposing factions, which featured hurled verbal insults, nearly degenerated into a virtual riot. In fact, one person who witnessed it told me he wouldn't have been surprised if John Belushi (aka "Bluto" from Animal House) had materialized and yelled "Food fight!"

QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 22 2006, 06:47 PM) *
I would love to see Jon Stewart show ANY clip from any of these kinds of meetings.

I would love to see Stephen Colbert do a parody of The Puffed-Up, Arrogant Scientist. In fact, he could read Andrew Mishkin's Sojourner: An Insider's View of the Mars Pathfinder Mission and use Mishkin's description of Tom Economou, PI for Mars Pathfinder's APXS, who Mishkin dubbed the "Principal Investigator from Hell." tongue.gif
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