What is a sciathon? My 48hr weekend

As mentioned in my previous blog, coronavirus has postponed my trip to Germany for the 70th Lindau Nobel laureate meeting. While this was disappointing given how excited I was to go, its not all bad, as the council has decided to put on online science days so that we can hear from Nobel laureates AND has organised the first online sciation. Basically, this is the same as a hackathon but instead of programming, young scientists from around the world team up to develop solutions to the most pressing issues in science and the world.

Photo credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

At 12:30am the sciathon got underway, that’s the beauty of worldwide collaboration, everybody has different timezones! so while it was late for me, it was just hitting evening for the rest of my group. Which by the way I had such a cool group! so interesting to meet people from different countries and walks of life to bond over shared opinions.

So what issue were we tasked with solving? Well, we tackled the issue of peer review by developing an online platform to improve the process. So what is peer review? Peer review is the process whereby other scientists within your research field review your work before it is published. This is to determine the integrity, repeatability and validity of your research work. The current process is severely outdated and slow, inhibiting cutting edge science from reaching the public when it is needed. There is also certain biases in the peer review process which we wanted to address. My group of 9 young scientists from around the world, along with our group leader, set about developing an online platform to streamline the peer review process, making it faster, removing bias and rewarding scientists for taking the time to review where currently we are expected to volunteer.

intense concentration required 😉

While I was tired and ready for bed/ dinner everyone else in the group was up and in their prime working time, which has given me a new found appreciation for being able to work in person with everyone. In the same token, it also showed me just how much we can achieve with existing technologies and forms of communication. In 48hrs we could get to know one another, write a 5 page paper about the new review process we developed (which by the way is called RevEasy, hopefully you’ll be seeing it around soon ;)) and produce a 2 minute video about the platform. Truly proves what you can achieve when you work as a team. Maybe we can apply this to saving the oceans- imagine what we can achieve!

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