The Rumors Are True

To the best of my knowledge, I have never been the subject of gossip before, probably because I am the most boring person whom you could ever know. However, an e-magazine, Element broke the news today that Scientific Life and several other science blogs will be moving to a new location. This has not exactly been a secret because I have hinted several times in the previous months that I will be moving to a new server, and some friends and colleagues have been following the development of this project behind the scenes, but the details of this move are something that you, as readers, probably want to know, and should know, in my opinion.

Scientific Life is moving soon to a spiffy new server provided by Seed Media Group, which publishes Seed Magazine, among other things. Seed Media Group, the parent organization, is a science media and entertainment company that is dedicated to developing world-class science content across digital media channels. Indicative of their interest in science, they have some really interesting people on their board of directors, including Nobel Prize winner James Watson who, along with Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, co-discovered the structure of DNA. Because I am a molecular biologist, these people have attained near-legendary status in my world, along with Mullis, and Darwin and Wallace, and Avery, MacLeod and McCarty, along with a host of others who have made important scientific advances.

Seed's ScienceBlogs is a community of science bloggers from around the world who, it is hoped, will provide one location for cutting-edge, up-to-date and sometimes, behind the scenes, scientific information to the general public. To this end, they are designing the site to meet our needs, a process that is still ongoing, so you will see a variety of changes there in the next few months as new features are implemented (I, for example, have a great idea for my masthead, which has not been designed yet. I also am trying to get a different wallpaper from the standard one they offer, and there are a few cute little features that I will be adding soon, too).

We will be paid to write our blogs after we move. The initial pay scale is based on the traffic to our current sites, and then will be based on the traffic to our new site after the move; more traffic means a bigger paycheck, of course. The sum that each of us is paid is small, but may possibly increase in the future (for example, I will earn just enough to pay for a wireless connection from my apartment).

There will be advertising on our blogs. I am not sure if any of you know my philosophy about ads, but I know you have noticed that I have never had any ads on my original site. There is a reason for this; I hate 'em. But the reality is that supporting this project would not be possible without advertising, even if we weren't paid for writing -- and in fact, us bloggers are the "most affordable" aspect in this entire project. The equipment and the IT experts necessary to support this project are very expensive. But I have been assured that these ads will be "tastefully done" and further, if there is a particular ad that I don't want on my site, the IT folks at Seed will write a filter that prevents it from appearing here.

In my opinion, the most important aspect for you to know about this project is that, as scientist-bloggers in the Seed community, we will never be subject to any editorial oversight. So basically, we will write essays and commentary about the same topics that we always have written about, argue with IDiots, host blog carnivals (yippee!), answer memes, online quizzes and indulge in other silliness, and basically carry on as we always have done.

Currently, new commentaries/essays that I publish will be mirrored on my original site because that is where all my blog award nominations are linked, and I would really really like to win something. Anything. Besides, I am still screwing up er, learning how to use the publishing platform, Movable Type, so I am experimenting with the template here. I have already caused my "sibling bloggers" a little headache by accidentally changing the communal archive module such that everyone's blog linked to my original site (considering that I am a finalist for "Biggest Blog Whore", I'll leave it to you, dear readers, to decide if my wee mistake was er .. accidental or .. ?). Nonetheless, thanks to Dave for his gentle correction.

I will be mirroring most essays posted here on my original site until the end of January (my birthday!), when I will formalize my move by leaving that site as linkable archives, close down reader comments to avoid those annoying spamweasels (especially you, William), and focus my blog writing energies on my new site. Hopefully I will have won 43 blog awards by that time, and then I'll be rich and famous and can afford a second laptop so I can blog using my toes while I finish my scientific papers using my fingers.

But seriously, as the author of a mere "baby blog", I am thrilled and honored beyond words to be invited into this online scientific community. I am proud to say that I am friends with several of my "sibloggers" on this online community and I hope to become friends with all of them over time. I am so excited about this move and its promise for providing high-quality scientific information to the public, and I hope that you, dear readers, are excited, too.

You are welcome to make suggestions, ask questions or voice any concerns that you have and I'll do my best to answer them.

Some of my "sciblings" have made formal announcements to their readers or have already made The Move;

Cognitive Daily, a team blog by Greta Munger and her husband, Dave

Evolgen, who used this opportunity to change the name of his blog to Clash, Culture and Science

Dr. FreeRide, who reveals her real name and face on her new site

Deltoid, by Tim Lambert

Pharyngula, by PZ Myers is now at his new site

Afarensis is here, too -- be sure to visit his site to see a breathtaking photograph


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This looks like an interesting project. The new server should be a big improvement over what Blogger offers.

I'll change over my links.

"more traffic means a bigger paycheck"

But since some of your content might be similar to what the other bloggers here may offer, won't that foster competition with them? I mean, maybe you will blog about IDiots, but so will Pharyngula. You'll have the same product and the same audience. It's a zero-sum game! The tragedy of the commons! Science blogs, red in tooth and claw!


Speaking as one of the "small fry" in the science blogosphere, I have already seen a jump in hits. I think it is largely due to the drawing power of Pharyngula and Chris Mooney...
I somehow missed the "accident" with the communal archive...

Congrats to you! It's fantastic to see that the elite team in the science blogosphere is now all-together! I hope I can drive at least few brazilian readers to discover and enjoy the wonders of science from this amazing group!

moon; thanks! if i have any control over things, this will turn out to be a win-win project for us and especially for the public!

John; the server has been working great so far, no mysterious bloggeresque crashes yet, although there are some problems with seeing my blog and PZ's using IE at this time. i hope the IT peeps can get this problem solved quickly so we don't lose readership.

Heathen Dan; not necessarily. we all have a different way of explaining our points of view, so i would like to believe that the public will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the topics at hand. oh, by the way, cute name.

Afarensis; i am surprised to see that my traffic has not dropped off at all. i was worried about that. but curiously, my current readers are migrating here slowly .. probably because i am mirroring much of the content here on the original site until the end of january (call me vain, but i want to win a blog award, so i gotta have new content there while polling occurs). most of my traffic here is entirely new.

Lucia; if you link to moi, they will come.


Yay. This is like going to school, sans tuition and tests and other necessary impediments to high-learnin,' but with the freedom to wander into the bestest classes at will. And it reminds me to read other cool science blogs I forget to check, which presumably other readers will do, to your benefit (but ultimately theirs, of course - where would evo-theory be w/out birds?). Blogological mutualism!

My traffic has increased (doubled actually). Some of my regulars have followed me. Of course I have only been blogging steadily for about a year so I didn't have a real large group of readers.

By afarensis (not verified) on 14 Jan 2006 #permalink

Jamie; your classroom comment creates a nice image in my mind.

I agree that ScienceBlogs' index helps to keep me checking on other science blogs to see what they are writing about, too .. I have been irregular about doing that up until now. I also think the index will be a good motivator for most of us to write more often.

Afarensis; my readership has been approximately the same over the weekend, not sure why, though.


You'll have the same product and the same audience. It's a zero-sum game! The tragedy of the commons! Science blogs, red in tooth and claw!

Not necessarily. I can easily read both Pharyngula and GrrlScientist. I don't know about other blog readers, who may have less free time and more blogs to read than I do, but my choices about which blogs to read are completely cardinal, as opposed to ordinal. There's no competition involved: sometimes blogs can get less interesting to me and lose me as a reader, but I never stop reading a blog just because there's a better one. I sometimes spend less time on a blog or comment less because there's a more interesting blog elsewhere, but I never stop reading a blog because of that.

Afarensis; i am surprised to see that my traffic has not dropped off at all. i was worried about that. but curiously, my current readers are migrating here slowly .. probably because i am mirroring much of the content here on the original site until the end of january (call me vain, but i want to win a blog award, so i gotta have new content there while polling occurs). most of my traffic here is entirely new.

So your traffic has in a way increased; it's just not apparent because it's split among two different blogs.

well, yes, and this does make me happy, but i sometimes worry that my readers won't follow me here becaused they haven't (mostly) so far. but i remind myself that i am being silly, because of course they will follow me.