Category Archives: OpenLab10

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, 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.

The Open Laboratory 2010 – now up for sale!

You kept submitting your posts all year long and watching, every Monday, to see which other posts were also entered.

Then we closed the submission form.

Then we made you wait a month of “electoral silence” while the judges went through three rounds of judging, until we finally announced which 50 essays, plus poems and cartoons, made it into print.

Then we announced the gorgeous new cover art.

New guest editor? Soon, be patient…

But now – what you have been waiting for so long – The Open Laboratory 2010, the collection of best writing on science blog for the year, is finally up for sale!

Buy one for yourself, one for your significant other, one for each family member, one for each pet (including all those on the internet who are dogs but we don’t know they are, and of course all the LOLcats), one each for as many neighbors, friends and colleagues you can think of, and a copy for the local library 😉

Thank you Jason Goldman for a fantastic job ushering this project through all year round, to Andrea Kuszewski for the cover design, and to Blake Stacey for doing all the technical stuff with LaTeX and formatting and such. Thank you to all the judges who read hundreds of posts. And thank you to all of you for submitting your posts, spreading the word about the project and supporting it throughout the years.

Open Laboratory 2011 – open for submissions

Jason and Blake were both at ScienceOnline2011 so had more important things to do for a few days. But now they are back, finalizing the Open Laboratory 2010. A couple of more hard-to-get bloggers to chase down, and we’re ready for production and publishing. Another week or two…and the book will be out.

There may be some changes in the way we do Open Laboratory in the future, so I am holding off, for now, on announcing the next year’s Editor. More information later….

In the meantime, you can buy the last four annual collections here. You can read Prefaces and Introductions to older editions here. The instructions for submitting are here.

And, most importantly, you can now start submitting your posts (and other people’s posts) for the next edition. The submission form for the 2011 edition of Open Lab is now open. Any blog post written since December 1, 2010 is eligible for submission.

Just two months into it, it should not be hard to go back into your archives and submit your recent posts now – when next November comes you’ll hardly remember them 😉

And once you are done submitting your own posts, you can start looking at the others’, including on aggregators like ScienceSeeker, and

Here are the submission badges, designed again this year by Doctor Zen. You are encouraged to display them prominently on your websites and blogs:

<a href=””&gt<img src=””&gt</a&gt

<a href=””&gt<img src=””&gt</a&gt

Or take the Open Lab 2011 submission bookmarkletOpen Lab – and drag it to your browser’s toolbar to have it always handy as you browse around science blogs.

And now…. the brand new Open Lab cover!

Designed this year by Andrea Kuszewski!

Open Laboratory 2010 – is your post in it?

You can now see for yourself! The 50 essays (plus 6 poems and 1 cartoon) have been chosen by a large and energetic panel of judges.

I will give the honors to Jason – go to his blog post announcing and linking to all the winning entries to see for yourself. Jason deserves all the traffic and accolades – he worked hard, was efficient and diligent…and he is such a softie! I think he cried about 850 times over the past month as all but the 50 out of 900 entries had to, one by one, get eliminated….

Congrats to all the winners – Jason will be in touch with you shortly about editing and formatting the final version.

Open Laboratory 2010 – submissions now closed – see all the entries

And it is over! The submission deadline has just passed. No more submissions will be accepted for the 2010 edition of the Open Laboratory.

Jason has lined up an impressive list of judges who will immediately start receiving their first judging lists and will start the complex process of winnowing down almost 900 entries into the final 50 essays/stories, one poem, one piece of art (for the cover) and one cartoon/comic strip. As usual, the book will be published with and we’ll try to have the book ready roughly in time for ScienceOnline2011 (we always say that, I know, but this time we’ll really try hard!)

In the meantime, while this process is ongoing, you can use this post, this collection almost 900 links, as a summary of the year, a sample and a cross-section of the best that happened on science blogs over the past twelve months. A snapshot of history! Quite a collection!

You can buy the last four annual collections here. You can read Prefaces and Introductions to older editions here.

Continue reading

Open Laboratory 2010 – the final stretch!

The deadline is November 30th, 2011 at midnight (Pacific time) so you have about one and a half days to dig through your (or other people’s) blog archives including all the way back to December 1st 2009 and pick your best essays, stories, poems, comic strips, cartoons and original art you produced since then.

The Submission form is here.

Under the fold are entries so far. The instructions for submitting are here. You can buy the last four annual collections here. You can read Prefaces and Introductions to older editions here.

Note: if you have recently moved your blog, please e-mail me the corrected URLs for your entries
Continue reading