Looking back on a year of gobbledygook

A year ago today I wrote my first blog post on Nature Network (Open access may become mandatory for NIH-funded research). This is blog post #84 one year later and a good time to reflect on the experience. In May of last year I started the science blog in a nutshell, hosted on my own server and written just for fun. I discovered Nature Network in July and started Publish or Perish 2.0. In November 2007 I changed the blog name to Gobbledygook.

I try to write about the paper writing process from the perspective of a researcher. I’m interested in the technical changes in paper writing thanks to Web 2.0. Open access is another important topic and the perspective of a researcher is obviously very different from a journal publisher, science library or the interested public. I am sometimes not comfortable to write about open access, as this is a very political topic and the discussion can move away from arguments and into something about doing the right thing. That’s why I would never write about Evolution vs. Intelligent Design or some of the other hotly debated topics in science blogging.

The blog post that received the most comments is My Paper Writing Dream Machine 1.0. That was also one of my favorite blog posts as I would love to see more of the potential of Web 2.0 technologies in our paper writing tools. I also enjoyed the dicussion on posters at scientific meetings (Are posters worth the effort?) and on blogging from conferences (Scientific meetings need more bloggers).

I participated in a wonderful SynchroBlogging effort on April Fools Day (organized by Jonathan Eisen and with “help” from the World Anti-Brain Doping Authority) with What can Erythopoetin do for you?. I think we should do more SynchroBlogging, and not just on April 1st. Public Access Week was another SynchroBlogging effort and I learned a lot about access to my own papers in Public Access Week: Who could read my papers?.

Only two blog posts are about scientific research. Using RNAinterference to identify genes that protect from cancer was my contribution to Just Science 2008. In Mouse models of human cancer and the need for more translational research I wrote about a presentation by Mario Capecchi at the International Genetics Conference. I would love to do more ResearchBlogging, but I think that we have to wait a few more years before science blogging has attracted enough people that read and comment on specific research findings.

Thanks to this blog I have met a number of very interesting and intelligent people with similar interests (see this blog entry by Bora Zivkovic and this blog entry by Matt Brown). That’s why I’m very much looking forward to the Science Blogging 2008: London conference at the end of this month. My goal for the next year: help to make reading and writing science blogs part of the everyday life at more universities and reseach institutions.

Copyright © 2008 Martin Fenner. Distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.