*weird, this got caught in the out tray. Still, here it is for the record*
Sorry for the long break – I was in France for a few days for my father’s 60th birthday, then Brussels sorting out moving all my belongings out of the house there and into the one here. The stuff arrives on Friday this week, so that will be a few days of graft getting it all out of boxes. Moving is a great time to clean up your life a bit and there were 35 bags of rubbish outside my house on Wednesday – most of them recycling bags I hasten to add. I’ve also got loads of stuff that I’m trying to give away to the Sally Army or something, if I can arrange for someone to pick it up. Got to go back one more time for the final tour through the house and transfer of utilities meters, but I’ll be staying with Abi (and my cats) then, as I was the few days I was back this week.
Abi stayed with me in Balham on Friday and we had a really nice night (watched Little Miss Sunshine, which is absolutely hilarious!). Saturday I met Hannah, someone I knew in Brussels, and some of her friends and we had a great day – late lunch at Tate Modern, drink at the Oxo Tower, then joined in a trance party on the river beach by the South Bank! We ended up in the ICA bar, which was great. Sunday I just watched Olympics for most of the day, which is no hardship with Team GB going so well. I’ve particularly been enjoying the velodrome, as always – how crazy are the events there??!! Just looking forward to seeing what else our lads and lasses can achieve!
So back in work, and as is usual in August, it’s all very quiet. Actually August is even quieter here than it is when you stay in Brussels, or maybe I’ve just always chosen bad summers to stay! Let’s see what happens…!
More science news – you didn’t know this was a science blog, did you…! We’ve made an announcement today about a pilot project to make the results of EU-funded research more available. Basically research groups that receive money from the EU’s Research Framework Programme will be required to put any articles or reports into a depository, which should then be openly available after an embargo of 6 to 12 months, depending on the research area. This embargo gives time for the results to be published in peer-reviewed journals, but ensures that potentially useful information is not then locked away where people who could really use it don’t have access to it. This is a delicate area, where you have many interests vying – the publishers want to maintain their revenue streams, the scientists want to make sure the peer-review system remains credible, the Commisson wants to make sure that tax-payers ultimately see a return on the public investment in science. By having varying embargo periods during this pilot phase, we can gauge just what the effect is on journals and scientists alike, and by opening up, we hope that smaller businesses that could build on information coming out of research but that they can’t afford to access when it’s only available through specialist journals. It’s an issue we’ve been looking at for a while, with a policy paper brought out last year, after a lot of discussion with people across the spectrum, and looking at examples of open access, such as the Wellcome Trust.
Was out last night at the Royal Festival Hall with the Stitch and Bitch London crowd. Really fun night – it’s amazing how empowering it is doing something a little strange in public with lots of people… Going to eat Southern Indian food in Tooting tonight with The Housemate – if anyone has any suggestions of the best place to go, I’d love to hear them.