N – Web 2.0 opens conferences

Social networking is changing behaviour among conference attendees, Nature reports. Delegates can informally discuss presentations as they occur, with each other and with outside parties. Some see this collaboration as the way forward. Others think that the blurring of the line between journalists and researchers may make scientists reluctant to present unpublished data. Some conference organisers have banned digital photography in talks and poster sessions and some consider bloggers to be members of the media and subject them to reporting restrictions. In an accompanying editorial, Nature says that organisers must decide whether meetings are completely open or “off the record” (Nature 2009;459:1050-1, doi:10.1038/4591050a and 2009;460:152, doi:10.1038/460152a)