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Jun 16 2012

On blogging about my research

The most frequent topic request I get for my blog is to talk more about my research. Usually the extent I talk about what I do is limited to vague tweets like “Yay, my code actually worked!” and “Why am I in grad school?” But people expect that a blogger who loves talking about science would be gushing about their own research. There’s two reasons I tend to avoid it:

1. Blogging is a a hobby and type of escapism for me. After working all day, I want to do something that doesn’t make me think of work for an hour. But more importantly:

2. Blogging about unpublished research is risky. I don’t want to give away too many details about what I do, because I run the risk that I’ll get “scooped” – that someone else will take the idea and finish it before me. This is even more likely with computational work, especially when using shared or public data. It’s not like I went out an found 1000 samples from rare frogs that no one else has access to – I’m just sitting in front of a computer. Some of the data I use will become publicly accessable by the end of the year, so I’m really pushing to get a paper out quickly. Don’t want to ruin my plan by having a big mouth!

But because you guys ask so persistently, I will blog a little bit about my research today. I’m going to focus mostly on the concepts I’m interested in and previous studies, but hopefully it’ll shed some light on my scientific interests.

This is post 3 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

3 comments

  1. 1
    Steve

    Good for you. Fuck getting scooped. Be idealistic. We didn’t go into science to live in a little box and not talk about what we’re doing unless we’re guaranteed to get credit for it. The chances of that happening are low and this is more fun.

  2. 2
    Brian

    I totally get #1, but regarding #2 I think you could satisfy a lot of us by without going into the specifics of what you yourself are studying. Most of us probably don’t have much formal biology education beyond high school. Discussing (what are for you) the basics of your field could still be a lot of fun for us. I depend on bloggers and pop science books to fill in a lot of the gaps in my knowledge!

  3. 3
    alwaysanswerb

    I know you wanted comments during your actual blogathon and not two days later, but I totally feel you on this! I am also a biomed grad student and sometimes blog about science, but most of the time I don’t want to for the reasons you mentioned.

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