Blogs as a way to communicate science. This is quite an unusual topic for Cell that, as opposed to Science and Nature journals, devotes less space to the non-technical side of science. For those of you that are subscribed, the article is here.
According to the article there are approximately 20000 blogs with the label ‘science’. That is quite an impressive number since most of my colleagues seem to be doing lots of things but not blogging. It seems that most of these science blogs are actually about pseudo science which would be the number of more conventional science blogs to around 1200 (always according to sources cited in the article). These are generally blogs like mine (of course in many cases better written and updated more often) which deal with fairly specific issues in a specific field of science.
These science blogs can be just about anything. Many do like I do and comment (what we personally find) interesting stuff in our own field of research that we find reading, mostly, papers and journals. Some do also include bits about their own lifes and produce some sort of hybrid between the conventional blog (understood as a personal diary) and the scientific blog. Some take the idea of science blog a step further and every day record their latest results online (although in some fields, like biology, this behaviour seems to be quite rare due to the extreme levels of competition between experimental biologists).
Why would any one start a science blog? On top of the conventional reasons why people start a blog (and weighted down by the fact that most of us do not carry sizable audiences) is the thought that when you write something with the expectation (as unlikely as it might be) that someone will read it that surely helps to clarify that something in your mind.