Science Mag on Science Blogs

You know what they say about great minds.

In the April 14 issue of Science Magazine, two environmental scientists opine that scientists can, and must, become active bloggers and readers of blogs, for two main reasons. First, hard-blogging scientists will ensure that sound scientific information makes it to a wide public audience (while by shunning blogging, the scientific community will cede the conversation to other voices and other interests). Second, scientists have, in the blogosphere, an unprecedented tool for sharing and soliciting ideas, data, and hypotheses. A blog-literate scientific community, the authors suggest, could work more efficiently and keep its labors more socially relevant.

The article was penned by Alison Ashlin and Richard J. Ladle, of the Oxford University Centre for the Environment. "If environmental scientists ignore online communication platforms such as weblogs," they write,

"we run the risk of creating a generation of eco-illiterate consumers and voters at a crucial time for Earth's diminishing resources. How should we respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the blogosphere? We suggest the following responses, which are potentially applicable to all science disciplines."

The authors go on to make a number of suggestions regarding the role blogs could play in science. Their recommendations include:

  • Scientists should become active bloggers, in order to increase the amount of accurate information available in the blogosphere
  • Blogging could, in some cases, even be part of a researcher's assigned job duties
  • Science blogs should be used as platforms for "the discussion of new ideas and the dissemination of research findings"
  • Scientists could use blogs as a means of gathering feedback during the early phases of a project
  • Blogs are an immediate way for scientists working on location to share "the excitement of working and living in the field"

Blogs, the authors suggest, are here to stay. They recommend that scientists not wait for the implementation of a peer-review system online, but embrace the blogosphere without a moment to lose.

Link to the article, here.

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