A couple of Big Announcements about The Open Laboratory

First Big Announcement:

The first couple of reviews of the 2010 anthology are now out: by Dr. Alistair Dove at Deep Sea News and by Ariel Carpenter at USC News. Check them out. If you have read the book and have a place to publish a review, we’ll appreciate it – just send us the link.

Second Big Announcement:

I am very excited to announce the Guest Editor for the 2011 – a good friend, a marvelous writer, and a great blogger: Jennifer Ouellette (blog, Twitter). I am looking forward to working with Jennifer over the course of the year to produce the best anthology yet!

Third Big Announcement:

After five years of self-publishing the book with Lulu.com, the Open Laboratory now has a real publisher! Yes!

I am happy to announce that the sixth anthology will be published by Scientific American Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Both Scientific American and Farrar, Straus and Giroux are part of the same publishing empire – McMillan – so this is a natural marriage between the two.

Jennifer Ouellette and I will work closely with Amanda Moon, Book Editor at Scientific American and Senior Editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, on producing the next volume.

What does this mean, and what will change?

The first phase of the production of the book will remain the same. You will keep submitting your own and other bloggers’ work via the same submission form. I will keep posting the growing list of submissions every Monday morning.

At the end of the year, some time in December, we’ll close the submission form as we always do. Jennifer will devise the judging methodology and will ask a group of bloggers, writers and scientists to serves as judges, to help us go through hundreds of entries at a fast pace. Thus the crowdsourced, community aspects of the book will remain intact.

Once the final decisions have been made and 50 essays, one cartoon and one poem are chosen for the inclusion in the book, Jennifer, Amanda and I will work closely with the authors to edit, copyedit and proofread the entries until they are in a perfectly publishable form (but without losing the webby ‘feel’). Then the project will get turned over to the professionals for design, typesetting and marketing – the aspects of publishing that were always the hardest for us to do as amateurs until now. Also, though Open Laboratory is a brand in our small circles (and quite popular there – see #openlab hashtag on Twitter), we may need to change its name to something more broadly marketable – but that is far from final yet, more information to come later.

This process lasts a little bit longer when done professionally, so we expect the book not to get published early in the year as before, but rather in early Fall, perhaps September, just before people start shopping for the holidays.

It took five years to find the publisher for this project, and it has finally happened, mainly due to continuous and strong support of the community – yes, that’s you. And I should not forget to mention the help of people most closely involved in the project over the years – the past Guest Editors Reed Cartwright, Jenny Rohn, Scicurious and Jason G. Goldman, the LaTeX guru Blake Stacey and, person without whom this idea would not have even been hatched – Anton Zuiker.

I am very, very happy with these developments and am looking forward to working on it over the next year, and hopefully into the future.


6 responses to “A couple of Big Announcements about The Open Laboratory

  1. Well, even though it means I won’t get to have the fun of preparing the index next year, that’s great news!

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  3. “A real publisher” — that’s an odd attitude, especially with MacMillan being one of the greedy “dinosaurs” against which you frequently rail.

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