29 July, 2009

Dueling Clarification/FAQs

What is a Scientists' Duel?

As opposed to a traditional gentlemens' duel in which the participants try very hard to wound or kill each other, a Scientists' Duel is a rather gentler sport. In this, 2 scientists agree upon a paper to read and publicly explain (e.g., through research blogging). The public then gets 100 points to divide between the participating scientists as they see fit based upon the quality of their explanations. After a set time period of voting, points are added up and a winner is declared.

How do the participating scientists choose a paper?

However they wish to and feel it fair, but it must be mutually agreed upon. In my duel with Hermitage, we chose the brain-machine interface paper because it is far outside each of our respective expertise, which we felt would make the competition fair. At the same time, a duel between scientists within closely related expertise upon a paper from their field would also be fair.

How do readers judge the Dueling Scientists?

However they want to. But generally comprehension, intelligibility, and accessibility are good benchmarks.

What benefits are there to Scientists' Duels?

Not only do these duels get more than 1 interpretation of otherwise unpublicized research out into the ether for knowledge and consumption, but it also adds a fun element of competition. Concurrently, Scientists' Duels accord an inherent worth upon a scientist's ability to concisely and clearly explain complicated research, which is a win for both their readers and the scientist's skills.

I want to Duel a Scientist. How do I do so?

Contact the scientist in question, let them know what you're about and see if they're up for it. This would be where you challenge them. At that point you can invite submissions for dueling material from your readers or work it out with the scientist you challenged. Either way, for the duel to be fair, the material must be mutually agreed upon. Then you read the paper, write about it, and post that. Let your readers know it's part of a duel and provide a link to your opponent's entry. It would also help to aggregate it into Research Blogging. Then sit back and let your readers vote.

Add other unclear questions in comments and I shall amend this post to include them.

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