After seven PLOS Science Wednesday “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) sessions on redditscience, we’re pleased to report that this pilot PLOS science communication vehicle has received a robust community response while raising the visibility of PLOS authors and bringing more readers to their research articles.
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 on the June 3 PLOS Currents AMA dealing with measles and vaccines.
Given this high level of researcher engagement, 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.
To date, the PLOS Science Wednesday series on redditscience has received over 500,000 total page views and some 1500 comments/questions! Keep them coming!
Upcoming PLOS r/science AMAs:
Jun 10: Timothy Brown — Color As a Signal for Entraining the Mammalian Circadian Clock (University of Manchester; researcher, intersection between biological rhythms and visual processing). Read the PLOS Biology article.
Jun 17: Manica Balasegaram of the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Access Campaign and Bernard Pécoul of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative — After the G7 Summit, Prospects for a Global Health R&D Fund to fight Ebola, Antibiotic Resistance & Neglected Diseases. Read the PLOS Medicine article.
Also coming up, don’t miss a special PLOS Science Wednesday AMA with climate scientist James Hansen, to coincide with the 2015 Ecological Society of America Conference (Aug 9-14). Dr. Hansen will discuss research conducted since his influential 2013 PLOS ONE article and general developments in climate change science – this AMA takes place on August 12th, 1 pm ET.
- 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
More why and how PLOS Science Wednesday /r/science AMAs:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the article URL, author(s) and a lay summary (50-100 words) of the research.
You may also be interested in…
- Monthly Updates from PLOS – Sign up for news of general interest to researchers and other PLOS readers.
- Publishing with PLOS – Find out which journal is the right fit for your research and how to submit your work to PLOS ONE.
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.
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