In a new post, scibling Bora asks whether science blogs are "real" publications and should be cited in other publications - like research articles. That's an interesting debate, and I encourage you to participate. I'm not going to get into it right now. Instead, I want to quote this section of his post:
There is a very interesting discussion on this topic in the comments section at the Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week blog, discussing the place of science blogs in the new communication ecosystem and if a blog post can be and should be cited. What counts as a "real publication"? Is the use of the phrase "real publication" in itself misleading?
What? There is a what what where?
This paragraph encapsulates so much of what frustrates me about the blogosphere. I'm sure the Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week blog is a simply smashing blog. But the fact that a discussion about publishing is taking place in the comments section of a specialized science photoblog demonstrates how utterly decentralized conversations are on the web. One requires a tireless interlocutor or guide (Bora is an admirable specimen) simply to discover relevant conversations in the "new communication ecosystem." And then to keep track of them? Don't get me started!
New technologies like Google Wave may help, but in the meantime, I'm beginning to feel it's futile to try to keep track of conversations across Twitter, blogs, social networks, and email. The time it requires is simply not compatible with having a day job or a personal life, much less doing anything creative in the offline world.
A single click is THAT hard to do?
But I agree - something like Google Wave (or new versions of FriendFeed) are necessary to put everything in one place. Later in the post we discuss the actual scientific paper as being the nexus that links to all the other peripheral discussions about it.
Despite the name, SV-POW has long ago stopped (and possibly never really even was) fundamentally a "photoblog". The majority of posts there are fairly detailed discussions of vertebrate anatomy (not always restricted to sauropods or vertebrae either) augmented by one, or more often several photos. And, of course that post was specifically intended to generate a comments section discussion, so it's not really that tucked away.
That's not too say that I don't agree with your larger point--I have 197 subscriptions in my feed reader and I find it increasingly difficult to blog myself amid the growing din.
Correct - SV-POW is not a photoblog. It has always been one of the most serious science blogs out there. Their posts, almost every one of them, deserves a DOI.
"But the fact that a discussion about publishing is taking place in the comments section of a specialized science photoblog demonstrates how utterly decentralized conversations are on the web. "
YES! In the programming space, I miss the days where all the NeXT computer programmers hung out on Usenet on comp.sys.next.programmer
Nowadays, it's OS X programming, and the discussions are spread all over myriad blogs, comment threads, wikis, and web forums. And then twitter came, and a bunch of people stopped posting to their OS X programming blogs and just started talking amongst themselves on twitter.
At least comment threads provide merciful cover for rampant humiliating spelling and grammar errors. sigh.
Whatever trouble you're having, I'm pretty sure twitter will fix all of your problems.
It's teh latest and greatest in Internet TWO POINT OH tech.
Don't interpret "photoblog" as an insult - I subscribe to lots of blogs that build their content around images. That said, I'll take you at your word that the blog titled "Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week" is not about pictures of the week (heck, things evolve, I get it). But that inconsistency just supports my point - few people besides regular readers of SVPW would know it isn't a photoblog, or would know to go there for discussion of science publishing, any more than people would know to go somewhere called bioephemera for the same. And Bora, you know it's not a single click I'm talking about. :) It's digging and digging and digging. . . and I just don't have time for it.
If it weren't for all of the evil spammers, the obvious thing would be to show incoming links to that post to gather the conversation. Or, to set up alerts so that this information comes to you regardless of where it's posted. Right now, the easiest way to keep up with this stuff is to just watch Bora ;)
Totally, Christina. Bora is like friendfeed, Google Alert, and Google Wave wrapped into one.
In the old media, sorting through a fuckton of shit and putting it together in a single place was the job of magazine and newspaper editors. Now people like Bora do that job.
We intended for SV-POW! to be about the picture of the week, and we always deliver at least that minimum, but our plans to keep the entries nice and short immediately ran off the rails because none of us can shut up (in the self-referential new millennium, we have of course blogged about this inability to shut up).
The serious point I want to make is that none of us intended for SV-POW! to metastasize into what it has become (and thanks to several of you for the kind comments about the usefulness of...whatever that is). Like everyone else right now, we are discovering that the tools available to us are changing our behavior in ways that we are not always conscious of at the time. The grandest of those unintended consequences is that everything is getting more complicated and less predictable (at least for now), and the good stuff really is scattered all over the place.
On the other hand, this is not new. Professionals in many fields have had field-internal conversations about, say, the relationship theories, expectations, governing assumptions, and what constitutes data. Because these discussions have often not crossed field boundaries, some fields--archaeology, paleontology, and geology come to mind--have solved their problems in parallel, with little or no reference to solutions in neighboring fields. So from within any given field, some of the good conversations in other fields have always been hard to find, unless one was exceptionally connected or had a superhuman command of the literature in other disciplines. I can speak only for myself, but I find that the very existence of the web makes allows me to stumble upon (and what an apt name for a web 2.0 venture that is) these conversations more often and more rapidly, and it vastly increases the chances that I will find them at all.
A big part of that is, as Comrade PhysioProf noted, the role of social connections in helping people find the good stuff. Bora functions as an omni-platform aggregator for finding a lot of stuff I care about--he is one of the "connectors" that Malcolm Gladwell and Clay Shirky write about, only in addition to connecting people with people, he connects people with ideas. Possibly one of the effects of the decentralization of the good stuff is that it will draw such connectors out of the invisible fabric of society and into prominence.
Also, c'mon, how can someone who runs a blog called Bioemphemera not be in love with the esoteric grandeur of SV-POW!? ;-)
"Also, c'mon, how can someone who runs a blog called Bioemphemera not be in love with the esoteric grandeur of SV-POW!? ;-) "
Uh, I had never even heard of your blog until this weekend (as I'm guessing you apparently hadn't heard of mine). ;)
"I can speak only for myself, but I find that the very existence of the web makes allows me to stumble upon (and what an apt name for a web 2.0 venture that is) these conversations more often and more rapidly, and it vastly increases the chances that I will find them at all."
I actually find that my likelihood of stumbling upon such a conversation has deteriorated dramatically from 3-4 years ago, when there were fewer venues for such conversations on the topics in which I am interested. The proliferation of niche blogs actually makes it harder, not easier, to find what you are looking for. That doesn't mean proliferation is a bad thing, it just means we need better tools to manage content.
It used to take me five minutes a day to read my RSS feeds. Now it takes over an hour, so it just doesn't happen. That's where I am. I'm happy for those people who have more time to spend on the internet, but I just don't.
I actually find that my likelihood of stumbling upon such a conversation has deteriorated dramatically from 3-4 years ago, when there were fewer venues for such conversations on the topics in which I am interested.
Ah, this is where my provincialism is showing. Three to four years ago many of the currently operative paleo blogs did not exist, I wasn't thinking too hard about open access, and I was still thinking of the 'net as a way to chat with friends and score PDFs, not as something that was changing the way science gets done.
It is harsh but true: almost no one is worth reading all the time. My friends would be scandalized if they knew how infrequently I actually read their blogs.
"My friends would be scandalized if they knew how infrequently I actually read their blogs. " My boyfriend doesn't even usually read mine. Which means he'll never know I said this. ;)
That doesn't mean proliferation is a bad thing, it just means we need better tools to manage content.
Did you just call Bora a "tool"?
"Did you just call Bora a "tool"?"
Don't worry, I've called him worse things than that.
Yup, she did ;-)
But what kind of tool? Usually called a 'filter', but what kind? Oil filter or air filter (or water filter for the fishes)?
Whoops. I did call Bora a tool, kind of. But I think he's primarily a tool for Opening and Accessing things.