Primarily, the new STAR website is to facilitate the genesis of a community among network members in between STAR conferences beyond their professional interest in the work that the former SOPAC (now the Geoscience Division of the South Pacific Community) does in the Pacific.
Beyond the professional interest, having aspirations as humans is common to us all; after all, a day arrived when we were born and there will arrive a day when we will die – everyone high or low takes this same journey. Similarly organisations or people groupings (i.e. communities) all have a shelf life.
With the rumblings of an “independent STAR” – network members’ impersonal/professional interest of the past will need to undergo some metamorphosis. There are lessons that can be drawn from 30 years of history as STAR in association with SOPAC. For STAR to fly independently, how should members engage with it so it remains aloft? The STAR Website is to create community and a common point for congregating without the expense of holding an international meeting. Also, while facilitating the discussion of this new modality, this platform will keep a record of what has been said.
Features of the site include the Home Page where the extraordinary announcements will feature under the WELCOME message – like the change in Network Officials; their contact information; and indicating the new material just entered into the other sections of the website.
Ordinarily the STAR website will contain all historical information of all past meetings (this is in the LIBRARY) and information on the next (under MEETINGS).
Every message sent out to the Network by the Chair of STAR will be together in the CHAIR’S MESSAGES section.
The BLOG spot is where we hope to retain the interest of Members in the period between meetings with interesting topics and potential of creating opportunities between country officials and technical experts in areas needing specialist skills unavailable in the Pacific.
I found it quite remarkable that locating news articles about the application or practice of scientific methods to solve problems in the Pacific was really difficult. This is a sorry state to be in. If this can be used as an indicator – does this mean science is not practiced to solve problems (highly unlikely) or does it mean insufficient investment of time and effort into formulating good communication pieces for dissemination – generally I suspect the latter. All the news pieces linked to the PACIFIC SCIENCE NEWS section of the website are sourced from outside the Pacific island territories.
This could well be a role sprung on the STAR Network to serve as a source for applied science news for Pacific island local news outlets; writing up longer ‘opinion’ pieces or feature articles for the STAR website PACIFIC SCIENCE NEWS, which can be used as source for shorter news articles in local newspapers. After all, the STAR is probably the largest network of practitioners spanning several scientific disciplines in the Pacific congregating here so it is the primary generator of science in practice news that is missing from the mainstream coverage in the Pacific islands. So Members take note, there’s a whole universe outside of the STAR Conference that will be interested in your pet projects if they can relate it to something that affects them.
REGISTRATION is customised for the STAR website to generate a directory of expertise available for deployment in the Pacific. We urge all core members subscribed to the STAR Email Group List to also register here at the website. The information you enter will be seen only by fellow members of the Network.
Are there other roles that Members can think of for the website? We would like to hear them … meanwhile happy blogging and best wishes for the holiday season.
Secretary for STAR