Nature Geosciences Commentaries on Science Blogs
yeah, I know what I said about nature geosciences, but this is special, and you can get the article with free registration. (oh, yeah, they must be out to get bloggers to read their journal - there are also two commentaries on gender)
Both from the April 2008 (v1 n4) issue of Nature Geosciences.
To blog or not to blog? - p208
Some interesting points about the nuances of communicating science to the public and also why a member of the public won't really be able to access the science even if they can get physical access to an article. Talks about informal scholarly communication as "second-stage peer review." He oversells the ability of the average scientist to successfully translate all of the bumps and wiggles of the graph - but essentially, I think he's right on with using the stories told over time in a blog to transmit tacit knowledge.
Minority report - p209
Starts with thinking that it's good to rebut rubbish reports, but then an article of his was rebutted on RealClimate and "By the time I heard about it...." My immediate response to that is surprise that he doesn't read that blog given the field he's in? I have a bunch of ego feeds in my name, surely I'd see articles written about me... So the author didn't rebut the misinterpretation, and this got trotted out later by journalists, etc. He seems to be suggesting that commentary and discussion on peer reviewed papers should be in and only in peer reviewed journals -- in the peer reviewed portion of the journal (so, like, not letters or commentary I guess) and that scientists shouldn't talk to journalists and that journalists should read the peer reviewed articles themselves? Yeah, right, that's how it works.
I see what he's saying, but the majority of the scientists are pretty respectful and careful on their blogs when talking about science. It would have been more appropriate for him to have engaged the blogger in conversation so then both could have learned and shared.
Update: there is a lot of interesting discussion on this in the geoblogosphere (like on geosciences blogs), I recommend these for further reading.
Labels: science blogging