Via Bora Zivkovic, I see that there's a new blog in town -- this one devoted to the joys of scientists blogging to advance their work.
I'll let them explain their mission:
Social media provides a tremendous outlet by which to translate and promote scientific knowledge and engage the public discourse. All scientists, researchers, clinicians, government and not-for-profit organizations have much to gain by adopting an effective and viable social media strategy.
Science of Blogging will not only highlight the ways by which social media is changing the way science and research is communicated, but also will provide basic guidelines for those individuals or organizations who seek to use social media to increase the public understanding of scientific research.
You should definitely follow up and read their story on the About page.
Their first few posts are:
There is no shortage of benefits for scientists - young and well-tenured - to publicize their research beyond peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. And yet, few scientists look beyond the pages of their discipline's journal to showcase their work.
While all researchers should strive to translate their work for mass consumption, the scientist's day is a long one, and often this task is overshadowed by more pressing issues of academia; grants, lectures, publications, conferences, student's dissertations, etc.
Part of the problem is that many researchers fail to recognize the more tangible benefits of exposing their research to a greater audience.
In the realm of online vs offline social networking, an interesting question often arises: As one's online social networks grow, does that person also become more popular offline?
There are generally two schools of thought on this issue, broadly promoted by the cyberpessimists and the cyberoptimists.
You can almost guess what I'm about to write next, right?
Although the PLoS Blogs network was rather new and traffic to our blog was lower than usual, the series hit a nerve.
The biggest nerve I managed to hit was that of BoingBoing.com, a very popular aggregator of interesting news stories which sent a good chunk of traffic our way.
All of this interest resulted in a total of 12,080 page views and over 70 comments from readers during the week of the series.
Put another way, the same research which I published in a prestigious medical journal and made basically no impact, was then viewed by over 12,000 sets of eyes because I decided to discuss it online.
And it doesn't end there.
Ideally, the media relations folks on college campuses are valuable partners for scholar-bloggers who want to get their research ideas out to the public. PR folks should not serve as personal publicists for certain faculty members - although most of us in the PR field know of a few professors who would love it if that were the case. Rather, we are partners in disseminating scholarship. We can do so not only by publicizing faculty research, but also by talking about the researchers' own public-service blogging, and by pointing journalists and others to the researchers' own blogging efforts.
Research Blogging is a website that aggregates blog posts that discuss peer-reviewed research. The blog post must discuss the research in a relatively in-depth fashion (e.g. the post must do more than simply summarize the abstract), but this is something that many science blogs do on a fairly regular basis. If you discuss peer-reviewed studies on your blog, then you simply need to register your blog with Research Blogging, and then insert the Research Blogging citation code into each blog post which discusses a peer-reviewed journal article. For example, on our obesity blog roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of our posts discuss the results of a peer-reviewed paper, and so we include the Research Blogging code on each of those articles. These posts then get advertised on the Research Blogging main page, as well as the sidebar of the Scienceblogs network (Scienceblogs and Research Blogging are both owned by SEED media group). This is huge, as Scienceblogs is one of the most popular science websites in the world. So by signing up for Research Blogging, you are basically getting your work advertised for free, on a tremendously popular website that caters to people who like to read about science.
A project near and dear to my own heart, I wish them great success in spreading the word about the usefulness of blogging to scientists, academics and other professionals. They're soliciting suggestions and feedback here.
Here's some of my own writings and presentations on the topic, broadly defined as blogging for professional development and/or professional practice:
- If you don't have a blog you don't have a resume, Part I
- If you don't have a blog you don't have a resume, Part II
- If you don't have a blog you don't have a resume, Part III
- Blogs as a Knowledge Management Tool in the Classroom
- Advancing and Promoting your Research on the Web
- Social Media and the 21st Century Classroom
- Online social networking isn't for everyone
- Using a Blog to Engage Students in Literature Search Skills Sessions (pdf)
- Academic Blogging: Promoting your Research on the Web
- Blogging for Professional Development (pdf)