What started out as a few questions to science bloggers in the Nature Network Bloggers Forum, has turned into a collection of more than 30 blog posts not limited to Nature Network (big thanks to Bora and others for spreading the word). The following science bloggers answered a set of 10 questions about their blogging (roughly in chronological order):
Please contact me if I missed a blog post.
Reading these blog posts is not only interesting and entertaining, but probably also a very good introduction to the current state of science blogging. Below is a personal summary of some of the answers. Oh, the best title was probably from Frank Norman: La meme chose.
Most bloggers seem to write about many different science-related topics. And only a minority about the actual science they are doing. Some bloggers gave more specific answers:
Several people mentioned that they would not give out personal information about other people, or comment directly on what's going on in their institution/company. Most people also avoid to talk religious beliefs or politics. Confidential information, including unreleased papers, was mentioned several times. The release of calcium from intracellular stores is another topic that several people would never blog about. Also:
Several people said something similar to Bora Zivkovic: Leaving research – yes, I already did that. Leaving science – never.
Some interesting answers. And a science background would be helpful in most of the jobs:
This was a difficult question that some didn't answer. Larry Moran said: pretty much the same as it is now. T. Ryan Gregory thinks that more professional researchers will join the blogosphere as this becomes socially acceptable. Andrew Perry thinks that research groups will be tied together more and more by their blogs. Eva Amsen thinks that there will be so many science blogs that we have to specialize. And I wrote that some science bloggers will be able to make enough money to earn a living from it.
Thomas Soderqvist said that there is no the most extraordinary thing. But I hadn't expected to get so many interesting contacts with colleagues around the world. Many people (including myself) had similar answers. Going to SciFoo is certainly an extraordinary thing an SciFoo invitation was mentioned by Pedro Beltrao, Jim Hardy, Duncan Hull and Deepak Singh. Some other answers:
For most people that was not a big issue. Ed Yong regrets to have written nice things about studies that later turned out to be rubbish not so good.
Many different answers. Nodalpoint was mentioned by several bloggers, including Duncan Hull, Paolo Nuin and Pedro Beltrao. T. Ryan Gregory was introduced to science blogging by his graduate student. The most hilarious answer is from Henry Gee and involves a garage, an old washing-machine motor and heavier-than-air flight.
The standard answer seems to be that most of them don't know or don't care. I would hope that in the future we will have more answers like the one from Bora Zivkovic: That's what they are paying me for and I hope they are happy.
Most people blog in their spare time. I hope to see more daytime bloggers that blog as part of their science job in 5 years (this relates to questions #5, #8 and #9).
Not all bloggers answered that question, but you can find poetry by Heather Etchevers (who suggested that question), Stephen Curry (who inspired it), Henry Gee, Eva Amsen, Bora Zivkovic, Maxine Clarke (a play), Massimo Pinto (science fiction), Shirley Wu (karaoke), Mike Fowler, Erika Cule, Kristi Vogel, Bob O'Hara (art), Viktor Po (a dance) and myself. Paolo Nuin needs a few more encouraging comments before he will write a poem.
Nature Communications: Interview with Lesley Anson
Nature Communications is a new journal that will launch in Spring 2010. The journal will publish papers in all areas of the physical, chemical and biological sciences and is open for submissions.The Nature Publishing Group publishes one fully open access journal (Molecular Systems Biology) ...
UK PubMed Central: Interview with Phil Vaughan
PubMed Central was launched in February 2000 by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a free digital archive of journal articles. Just as PubMed, PubMed Central covers research in the life sciences, but not other areas of research, e.g. ...
Interview with Pablo Fernicola
The Article Authoring Tag Set of the National Library of Medicine (NLM DTD for short) creates a standardized format for new journal articles that can be used by authors to submit publications to journals and to archives such as PubMed Central. ...