Groupon for scientists

Groupon is effectively social coupons, vouchers and discount deals. There have been similar services, way back when that used collective buying power to get stuff at cut price. And, of course, Facebook, Google et al are all trying to catch up with the Groupon phenomenon.

But, what about scientists? Could they benefit from a Groupon-type service for lab equipment? I asked my twitter crowd what would be their top Groupon if a company were to offer such a service. Would it be two-for-one deals on mass spectrometers, spa breaks for lab technicians, or perhaps tailored labcoats (ScientistMags)…

So far, we’ve had 2-for-1 ELISAs (biochembelle), book vouchers (nwynn), fashion goggles, and trendy safety shoes. Benchwise suggested two forms of crystal in the same drop. Cut-price solvents and shelving (MonaFootieFan), discount rats (CdrHBiscuitIII), 2-4-1 antibodies (katiesci), cytokines galore (JoeyGuava).

RockstarScience chipped in with a need for deep discounts on lenses, maybe some cheap lasers, or even better, NERF guns, pointing out that my her lab group does not function without them! Hirscheylab, thinking laterally, suggested a 2-f0r-1 deal on successful experiments, a deal that’s probably impossible to find. Just now, sswchow suggested 60% off their personal lab technician!

Oh, we’re getting serious now, forget instrumentation and grants, researchremix would like G4S to offer discount upgrades for Mendeley, GitHub, Dropbox, WordPress.com. But, then reverting to seriousness also suggests a voucher to cover the costs of publishing in Open Access journals.

What would be your top Groupon for science deal?

Hat tip to Comprendia for original inspiration.