Thumbs Up for Blogging

I absolutely agree that blogging is an excellent tool1 that allows us to extend our voices beyond the lab or scientific journal, whether it is for the purpose of getting suggestions or for finding a collaborator. However, there are many other aspects that affect the daily lives of scientists. Venturing in to the realm of the “confessional” blogosphere shouldn’t necessarily be labeled as “fluffy” just because someone does not talk about the latest scientific breakthrough. As someone who writes about being a scientist-mom, I feel that blogging about my work/life balance may provide encouragement to others. Some might label this as fluffy, but, personally, I think that having a grasp on life beyond the bench is just as important as life behind the bench.

Jeanne Garbarino
The Rockefeller University
New York, NY
2 Jaak Panksepp’s observation that “[the] higher brain is not needed for...

Jeffrey Peyton
Founder, 3 as a recently practicing scientist, now working in science communications, I would say that, because the pressure and focus of academia is primarily on research, communicating ideas is hindered by competitive instincts. Scientists are happy to go to the relevant conferences and work on increasing their literature output, but the networks they move in are small. Ideas are exchanged on a one-to-one basis with trusted individuals. There is a notable reluctance to risk sharing ideas because competitors may use those ideas to beat you in the publication race. Hence the use of blogs and social media is rare. The opposite message about the benefits of Web 2.0, i.e., that you can actually pick up and develop new ideas using these tools, has not penetrated as yet.

Mohammed Tasab
The University of Manchester
Manchester, UK
4 But recall that George Köhler & César Milstein did not patent the monoclonal antibody technique because they wanted that tool to be widely applied. Instead, every person with an idea about monoclonal antibodies patented their twist on the technology and actual applications, thus restricting their application.

Acting in good faith does not exclude others from taking advantage.

Robert Atcher
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM

1. B. Grant, “You Aren’t Blogging Yet?!?” The Scientist, 24:83, October 2010.
2. J. Akst, “Recess” The Scientist, 24:44, October 2010.
3. R.P. Grant, “Social Experiments,” The Scientist, 24:13, October 2010.
4. H.S. Wiley, “One of the Good Guys,” The Scientist, 24:36, October 2010.

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