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Can Science Blogging Enhance Your Research Life?


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Science Blogging talk given by Dr. Katherine J. Haxton at Keele University in February 2009

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Can Science Blogging Enhance Your Research Life?

  1. 1. Can Science Blogging Enhance Your Research Life? Dr. Katherine J. Haxton 11th February 2009
  2. 2. What is a Blog? <ul><li>Website (software) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Posts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Room for comments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different to a forum </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Short for Web Log </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Used to be list of links (for computer nerds) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Microblogging (140 characters or less) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. What is a Blog? Technology Software Communication Community Web2.0 Publishing Information Outreach Online Popular <ul><ul><li>Publicity </li></ul></ul>Social Media Engagement Networking Sharing Writing Interactive Debating Discussing Blog – an online journal To Blog – to write in an online journal Blogger – one who blogs Blogosphere – wider community of bloggers
  4. 4. What is Science Blogging? <ul><li>Blog posts written about science or about doing science </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Written by interested individuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open for public comment (and debate) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Science Communication using blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outreach, Engagement, Publicity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Free science writing, reviewed by the readers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>if you're wrong, you'll know about it! </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Who are Science Bloggers? <ul><li>Scientists, Students, Journalists, Teachers, </li></ul><ul><li>Anyone with a specific interest </li></ul><ul><li>Look at several science blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>RosieRedfieldResearch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NatureNetwork </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Lab Notebook </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. RRResearch <ul><li>Scientist to scientist communication </li></ul><ul><li>All group members have blog </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>discuss general issues surrounding their research </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>get support/keep the boss informed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Not generally used for data </li></ul><ul><li>Great insight into how a research group operates </li></ul>
  7. 7. RRResearch
  8. 8. RRResearch “ The best way to find out what we're working on right now is to read our research blogs. These are where we write about our day-to-day work. We describe the experiments  and analyses we're doing, and what we think they might be telling us. We hope  our blogs also give non-scientists some insight into what real research is like.”
  9. 9. ResearchBlogging.Org <ul><li>Site for blog posts written about peer reviewed research (almost informal peer review process) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sorted by topic/date </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Registration required for authors, provides icon to use on blog posts </li></ul><ul><li>Often written by science writers or scientists about 'cool' research they've noticed which hasn't made it to the mainstream media </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less popular topics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Good way to keep up with new developments outwith chemistry </li></ul>
  10. 10. ResearchBlogging.Org
  11. 11. ResearchBlogging.Org “ If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.”
  12. 12. Open Lab Notebook <ul><li>Part of 'Open Science' initiative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jean-Claude Bradley (Drexel U. USA) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major online presence for research group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wiki (open laboratory notebook) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Useful Chemistry & Molecules Blog </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General access to research data as experiments are in progress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fosters collaborations through non-traditional means </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Open Lab Notebook
  14. 14. Open Lab Notebook “ This blog chronicles the Research of the UsefulChem project in the Bradley lab at Drexel University. The main project currently involves the synthesis of novel anti-malarial compounds.”
  15. 15. Nature Network <ul><li>Mainly scientist to scientist communication </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists in geographical hubs </li></ul><ul><li>Forums and Blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Different levels of participation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Must have account to participate </li></ul><ul><li>Networking tool (like facebook) </li></ul><ul><li>Good place to have an 'online identity' </li></ul>
  16. 16. Nature Network
  17. 17. Nature Network “ Nature Network is the professional networking website for scientists around the world. Think of it as the online meeting place where you and your fellow scientists can gather, share and discuss ideas, and keep in touch. ” http:// /
  18. 18. Positives <ul><li>Collaboration tool </li></ul><ul><li>Community building between similar researchers/career stages </li></ul><ul><li>Full access to data (open science) </li></ul><ul><li>Read about new science in accessible way </li></ul><ul><li>Breaks down barriers between the public and scientists </li></ul><ul><li>Many ways to get involved </li></ul><ul><ul><li>read, comment, write articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>private 'online' lab book, public 'online' lab book </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Negatives <ul><li>Not suitable for all </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy Issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sensitive Research </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Another thing to do! </li></ul><ul><li>What goes on the internet, stays on the internet </li></ul><ul><li>Still misunderstood! </li></ul>
  20. 20. Interesting Blogs <ul><li>Royal Society of Chemistry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chemistry World </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSC Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Sceptical Chymist (Nature Chemistry) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Forensic News Blog </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Interesting Blogs <ul><li>Oxford University Science Blog </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Natural History Museum (antarctic conservation project) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stanford Blog Directory </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Other References <ul><li>Scientists enter the blogosphere </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bonetta L (2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cell 129:443–445 doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.04.032 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Advancing Science through Conversations: Bridging the Gap between Blogs and the Academy. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Batts SA, Anthis NJ, Smith TC (2008) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PLoS Biology 6:e240 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060240 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>By the blog: academics tread carefully </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Times Higher Education, 9 th October 2008 </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Acknowledgements <ul><li>With thanks to Steffi Suhr, Bora Zivkovic, Richard Grant, Stephen Curry, Martin Fenner & other assorted NatureNetwork types for their suggestions. </li></ul>