The Thoughtful Animal

On Wednesday I posted the full list of the almost 900 posts submitted to Open Lab. As part of the process that I’m using to distribute the posts to my awesome reviewers, I’ve assigned each post a primary category. (Clearly, many of the posts can easily fit into more than one category, but based on the post, the blog’s general content – as far as I know or can tell – or whatever other information is available to me, I’ve picked one to be primary.)

Here’s the breakdown of the posts by category (click to enlarge):

open lab categories.jpg

Psychology/Behavior/Cognition 126
Biology 104
Evolution 88
History/Philosophy 67
Science Communication 67
Science in Life 62
Archaeology/Anthropology 50
Ecology/Conservation 35
Physics 32
Neuroscience 30
Marine Biology 28
Chemistry 27
Astronomy 25
Health-Medicine 23
Climate Science 22
Geology/Earth Science 17
Math/Stats 17
Women/Minorities 14
Epidemiology 8
Health-General 8
Botany 7
Engineering 4
Health-Psychiatry 3

Some trends are obvious and expected, such as that there are more life science posts than physical science posts. I was somewhat surprised by the extent to which the Psychology/Behavior/Cognition category surpassed the Biology category. What trends do you see? Anything expected or surprising?


  1. #1 Andrea Kuszewski
    December 3, 2010

    Obviously psychology is the awesomesauciest. 🙂

  2. #2 Grant
    December 3, 2010

    I’ll see if I can get myself up to posting a comparison with the figures in Who blogs on what, and why later tonight. In meantime readers can eye-ball ’em 😉

    Also check out Vivienne Raper’s posts on the same topic. (I’ve linked to the second of two.)

  3. #3 John McKay
    December 3, 2010

    What a minute! Where’s the woolly mammoth category?

  4. #4 Grant
    December 3, 2010

    Just in case the links in my previous post have alerted the spam filter and moderation takes a while, the link on my name is to an article about “Who blogs on what, and why”, that follows on from the first of two posts on this topic by Vivienne Raper. If I can motivate myself (!) I’ll compare the statistics in that article and Jason’s above. In the meantime, readers can eye-ball ’em 🙂

  5. #5 Mike Lisieski
    December 3, 2010

    You blog about behavior. It will be easier for you to recognize themes in a piece that have to do with what you are interested in, and so regarding those posts that could be in more than one category you are more likely to pick the “Psychology” category. We need a molecular biologist, a physicist, an evolutionary biologist, a journalist and a philosopher (at least) to code the posts to establish inter-rater reliability before we can make any conclusions at all! I’d volunteer to do the several hours of work necessary to help, of course, except that I likely have the same bias you do.

    That said, I’m not surprised about behavior/psychology being up there. It’s easy to be interested in analyzing behavior, and so audiences respond to content about that, and people write about it.

  6. #6 Jason G. Goldman
    December 3, 2010

    Mike (@5): You have a good point. Obviously, the data above are imprecise and necessarily biased. However – to play the devil’s advocate for a moment – as you might recall, people had to indicate on the submission form what categories each post would fill. As much as possible, I relied on those – I simply had to make them more uniform (e.g. some people might use categories like “psychology” “behavior” “mind” “neuropsychology” “biopsychology” “cognitive neuroscience” “behavioral neuroscience” “cognition” etc etc – they would simply all be labeled “Psychology/Cognition/Behavior”)

  7. #7 Scicurious
    December 3, 2010

    I often label things “neuroscience” which would also fall into “psychiatry”, so there could be crossover there. Similarly, a lot of my “behavior” posts are also related to neuroscience.

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