In the latest EMBO Reports (EMBO = European Molecular Biology Organization) there’s a piece by Howard Wolinsky, “More than a blog,” describing the new wave of blogging by scientists. It discusses the genre, detailing all of its benefits and perils. And it quotes, among others, Rosie Redfield (exposer of the arsenic-bacteria problems), P. Z., Bora Zivkovic, “GrrlScientist” (I wish she’d give her name, as I think science bloggers shouldn’t use pseudonyms), Sean Carroll, and Professor Ceiling Cat. At the risk of seeming self aggrandizing, I’ll append one of my quotes:
Coyne, however, does not share his interest in blogging with other senior faculty at the University of Chicago, because he does not believe they value it as a professional activity. Still, he said that he recognizes the names of famous scientists among his blog readers and argues that scientists should consider blogging to hone their writing skills. “Blogging gives you outreach potential that you really should have if you’re grant funded, and it’s fun. It opens doors for you that wouldn’t have opened if you just were in your laboratory. So I would recommend it. It takes a certain amount of guts to put yourself out there like that, but I find it immensely rewarding,” he said. In fact, Coyne has had lecture and print publishing opportunities arise from his blogs.
True, but I don’t have a “blog”!
What I meant about being “grant funded,” of course, is that if your research is underwritten by taxpayers, you incur an obligation, I think, to either explain your work to them or do something else to help them learn about science.
I believe the article is behind a paywall, but, miscreant that I am, if you shoot me an email I’ll send you the four-page article.
And yes, I think that more scientists should have websites, and that they should put in those websites more than just posts about science.