One of the things that came out of the discussion of the ethics of blogging about science at the 2008 NC Science Blogging Conference was a clear sense that we don’t yet have general agreement about what kinds of ethics should guide science blogging — in part, because we haven’t come to an agreement about just what kind of activity science blogging is.
Is science blogging more like journalism or the scholarly activities of scientists reporting their findings to their peers? Is it education or punditry? Is it a profession or a hobby?
Different bloggers (and different blog readers) seem to have different views here.
This makes it tricky to get clear on just what the blogger owes her readers, her sources, and her fellow bloggers (among others). Moreover, it makes it hard to work out whether there is — or could be — a coherent community of science bloggers whose activities are informed by a set of shared values.
The heterogeneity of science blogging didn’t put us off from thinking that it might be valuable to start discussing what responsibilities science bloggers might have, and what sorts of “best practices” science bloggers might adopt. We set up a wiki to collect people’s thoughts on this. If you have a view about the responsibilities you expect science bloggers to live up to (and given that you’re reading a blog, you probably do), please jump right in and share them on the wiki. If you’re shy about editing pages in wikis, you can also share your thoughts in the comments here.