Integrated Telematic Services and Communication Through Scientific IRC: Virtual User Communities of Biomedicine in UNInet

Re: Measurement and offer

Maria Jesus Coma

On Tue Dec 8, grover wrote
>Some of the responses to my initial question on measurability of success seem to indicate that I have made up

Dear Dr Grover:
We thank you again for your interest in our session. Your attention to us is very pleasing. We again reiterate, to you and all interested parties that UniNet is available to anyone interested in scientific and professional activities through the Internet.
The nine presentations in this symposium try to present a panoramic view of the activities and work goals that take place on UniNet. These presentations are mostly general descriptions. Following your suggestions on quantifying results, we have calculated data indicative of the utility of UniNet as a team-work tool. We present them here, in this excellent INABIS Congress.

In this symposium there are 9 sessions, these gather the highest amount of authors (43) from the highest number of countries (11). Each of the presentations has been developed by an average of 4.68 authors, ranging
between 3 and 6 people from diverse departments. In each case, except two, the authors reside in different cities and in each presentation, the authors live in different countries (between 2 and 5 countries per
presentation). There are not any sole authors. There is one case, in another simposium, where the amount of countries is larger than the amount of presentations, but in smaller proportion. This symposium is the only participant with authors from Peru and Chile.
This work was entirely carried out by UniNet, and the great majority of the authors met or were in contact with each other by using the UniNet resources. Out of all the authors, only a few have actually met with two or three people in real life.

In the rest of the 44 invited symposia, except for one that could not be totally uploaded, the numbers are -except for error or omision-, the following:
Number of presentations in the 43 symposia: 302, average: 7.02 presentations per symposium.
The number of authors varies between 5 and 41, with an average of 19.44 authors per symposium and 2.77 per presentation.
The number of participant countries in each symposium ranges between 2 and 9 with an average of 3.7 countries per symposium.
84 (28%) presentations in 30 symposia belong to sole authors. Only 79 (26%) presentations are developed by authors from different departments, sometimes within the same university, hospital, etc.
Obviously this data only aims to prove that in UniNet, cooperative collaboration is a fact, an effective reality, and that the communication allows the establishment of relationships between physically distant
scientists in a higher proportion than in other systems or internet media.
Of course, the goal is to demonstrate that the system is a useful tool in terms of team-work.
This cooperation can be seen in another presentation developed through communication via UniNet, where 7 authors, doctors and biologists from different departments and cities, from 5 different countries have collaborated:
Coma, MJ; Porres, LA; Martin-Alganza, A; Nevado, M; da Costa Oliveira, AR; Campos Martinez, J; Serrano Martin, I;(1998). Online Collaboration Between Pathologists. Presented at INABIS '98- 5th Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada, Dec 7-16th. Invited Symposium. Available at URL
(This presentation -Presentation Number SAcoma0318- integrates the data of the "other 43 symposia")
In conclusion, this symposium is a collaborative work that demonstrates that cooperation between scientists is noticeably enriched when integrated telematic resources used by Virtual User Communities are available, facilitating Universal communication on the Internet.

We have offered INABIS, though the '98 Congress President, Dr. Szechtman, the use of UniNet during the conferences as an additional way of communication, but as it was offered on such a short notice we couldn't arrange anything specific. We would gladly arrange any real-time chats/conferences during the sessions and extend the offer beyond the 16th of December. UniNet ( is available 24/7 for all scientists who would want to log on and organize meetings. This is the main purpose of UniNet, to gather people with similar interests to debate any issues and prepare topics in addition to, but not instead of, the INABIS conference.
We have celebrated virtual conferences ourselves and the registration and participation estimates have been pleasingly overwhelming.
In any case, the interest you and other people here have shown to us in this symposium is a great success in itself and we feel very satisfied and grateful. This satisfaction and gratefulness is really unmensurable, at least for the time being.
Maria Jesus Coma.

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