Celebrating the Value of a Collaborative, Big-Picture Approach in Science
Photo by Mike Furniss/USFS/HJ Andrews Experimental Forest
Science is not just about the results; approaches matter too. That’s why we’re using Earth Month, April, as a good excuse to kick off a celebration of the synthesis approach to solving big-picture environmental and ecological questions.
Starting April 1st, NCEAS and the US Long-Term Ecological Research Network will be tag-teaming on a Twitter campaign, #WhyISynthesize, to highlight the value of synthesis science and to make the idea of “synthesis” a little more concrete, approachable, and human. Scientists from our communities are lending their voices (and faces) to share why they synthesize, and we’ll be sharing their inspiring words on our Twitter feeds.
Synthesis, defined broadly, is the process of unleashing new insights from existing datasets and often in collaborations of diverse experts. At its crux are people creating knowledge by building on the great work that has come before them, and this campaign celebrates those people as much as it does the approach.
You can help us keep the conversation going even beyond the month’s end, and you don't even need to be on Twitter to participate. Below we've explained how to participate.
We’re excited to have on board with us other synthesis centers around North America that will be participating in the campaign too, including the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), and the Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution (CIEE).
How You Can Participate, Even if You're Not on Twitter
If you have ever been part of a synthesis project with NCEAS or otherwise, add your voice to the buzz by sharing the reasons you synthesize – new connections, impact potential, out-of-the-box thinking, and we are sure there are more. You can join one of two ways:
1. If you're on Twitter, post your own tweet proclaiming the reasons you conduct synthesis research to solve environmental or ecological questions. Make sure to use the hashtag #WhyISynthesize, and we'll try to re-tweet you.
2. Email us a concise and accessible quote stating your reasons, along with a photo of yourself in your favorite place in nature or research site. We'll convert those into a tweet to add to the thread via NCEAS' Twitter feed. Send your quote and photo to seifert [at] nceas.ucsb.edu (Jenny Seifert), NCEAS communications officer.
Regardless, we hope you’ll follow along and, perhaps, share nuggets that resonate with you and help others learn how synthesis cultivates discoveries, connections, and solutions for the benefit of nature and people.