London Science Blogging Questions 1


The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, 21 December 2006.
Image: Genvessel (Wikipedia).

I am a panelist at a one day conference being held in London, England. This conference focuses on the value of blogs to the public, to science and to scientists, and is being held at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on 30 August 2008. My fellow panelists are two amazing women whom I’ve admired for several years; Jennifer Rohn, editor at LabLit.com and Anna Kushnir, who works for Nature Network Boston and writes the blog, Lab Life, and the panel moderator is my friend and ScienceBlogs colleague who lives in London, Mo.
I need your help as I work on my contribution to this meeting, so I am asking you a series of questions I’d like you to respond to. The first set of questions (which I’ve asked you before, so you don’t have to answer them again if you’ve already do so) are; Do science blogs change public perceptions about science/scientists? How? (Please provide examples).

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About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to London Science Blogging Questions 1

  1. Livingstone says:

    Hi interesting topic!
    By scientist i don know wether you really mean to be that general, but Yes, thats was what made blogs become a powerful tool in the 21st centurary, the idea that my research now is not recorded in some laboratory journal which will need decoding after being discovered decades from now before ever reaching the public, but rather a direct relationship with the people who follow you.
    This has been widely accepted in some areas of science but others still remain old school, like some research groups. We only hear about their work when its over and the reports, journal they publish makes absolutely no sense to the public.(because you were that general i will take for example the IT industry). Consider dell developing a new pc the dont have to publish results in some snazzy journal, go to their website, find a blog and you could follow the development of that pc, consider windows writting a new software (windows 7) The public generally gets to follow the development without needing to subscribe to some expensive journals
    I am a biomedical science student and will be looking at continuing research and study for the rest of my life basically! and to be honest all through my studies, and in the lights of the changing world i think researchers should cross over to the 21st century!
    The idea that you must publish your work in some cryptic language understood by only people who study your field, and it must be reviewed by a panel of people over a year long period, before being validated as a solid piece of work, then published to some journal where you’ll have to pay money to lay hands on is just sooo oldschool! I mean we live in a new age and its time scientist do!
    Its a good idea that people should recieve credit for their work, but think about the IT industry, they have journals too, but before new technologies get released it does not need to be reviewed in some journal, infact youll propably get technical specs through some blogg like those recently leaked for the new dells computer!
    Hence the public interaction only comes if scientist give the public the chance to find, understand and follow their work! I just got an rss reader, and thats how i found this blog, and infact the storiess i get daily are interesting, down to earth and captivating than what ill ever find in databases like science direct, pub med etc after having paid serious money for
    I learn to write papers too, think of it this way, its is better to know that such and such person is working on a topic you are interested in and maybe subscribe directly to their blog and you know how things shape up. I am looking forward to the day where we will someday review blogs and reference them in our papers!
    One last thing, I suggest a new type of wikipedia, we spend alot of time critizing wikipedia, i will soon write a blog post critizing the oldschool way researchers, scientist interact with their public. Rather than critisize wikipedia, why not get a network of blogs like this one, get a panel to review them and provide this information as open source?
    You know i like websites like TED.com because you see open minded people excited about their work. But researchers, especially here in england to me are so old school
    Ill like to read about your conference if youll blog the minutes or what was discussed!

  2. biosparite says:

    What I have learned from science bloggers to my chagrin is how little support there is for postdocs and young scientists relating to career development. In contrast, the state bars in the USA publish all sorts of helpful information for both young and experienced practitioners, and the better American law firms provide extensive training and education for new associates (yes, the big firms flush around 75% of new associates out onto the street after several years, but only after the associates have made substantial money and hopefully taken advantage of the many opportunities to develop their skills, helping them to land at another firm as a lateral hire).

  3. heidi says:

    It’s nice to know that scientists are humans, too =)

  4. Esty says:

    Hello,
    I think ur question is rather hard to answer for anyone: is someone feeling like being part of “general public” here ??
    See : Livingstone is a science student, I am myself from science business too. Well just a thought. I’ll give u my mind about your question anyway πŸ™‚
    Science blog changed my perception in giving science a human face and often a smiling one! I reminds me why I choose that kind of study: amazing wonders to discover all over the place πŸ˜‰
    Science blogs also give me a picture of the politics (too often lack of) about science. For example I read you because I relate to ur personal story: u’ve been interupted in ur academic quest, same thing here. I realise now that it is pretty much a worldwide trend (for biology). Now that’s any great confort note: say I don’t feel alone anymore.
    πŸ™‚
    I not complaining here, I found one way to do science out of academia which I didn’t imagine before my PhD defence. I think blogs are one of those ways of doing science outside academia.
    Ihih sounds like finally there are more options than university πŸ˜‰
    Coooool !