Original post date: Nov 17, 2010
It should go without saying that one of the primary purposes of meeting-going is to promote yourself and your work. You won't advance if you don't impress people, and how will you impress people without showing them how clever and important your science is? If you're at any stage of your career other than Professor Graybeard, most of this self-promotion will probably happen at your poster, where you get to tell people one-on-one about your latest exciting findings. But what if people are so impressed they want to take some of your findings home with them?
It's not uncommon for poster presenters to have handouts with a mini version of their poster on it, and poster visitors are usually more than happy to snatch those up. Others, however, are more protective of their unpublished data. I've mostly been on the "sharing is caring" side of the fence, but sometimes second-guess myself and wonder if that's a naive position.
Yesterday, one of the four people who came to my poster in the malodorous far reaches of the San Diego Conference Center asked if he could have a pdf of the poster. Ever one to put the ball in the other person's court, I gave him my card and told him to email me, which he did later yesterday evening. After polling the twitterverse and considering the circumstances of this person's interest, I decided that this was a very low-risk (and potentially high reward) situation, and sent the file off once I got to New York.
But still, my twitter poll elicited a range of responses, so I thought I'd put it out to my readers. What's your policy on sharing concrete unpublished data with strangers? Sure, people will always take notes. But how do you feel about handouts? Emailing pdfs? Photo-takers?