Me, again

Well, there I am again, mentioned in an article in Nature (Nature Reviews Genetics, actually), but I have to agree with RPM: it’s an awfully thin article that draws unwarranted and hasty conclusions from a tiny sample. It would have been better to actually talk to some of the people blogging about genes and genetics—we tend to be a voluble bunch, I think, and would have given her plenty of material to work with—rather than glancing at a few sites and trying to draw grand generalizations from them.

Skipper M (2006) Would Mendel have been a blogger? Nature Reviews Genetics 7:664.


  1. says

    In science, I mostly read here and Panda’s Thumb, a few others, so I can’t comment on the article. But I am interested in the role blogs play in academic research. It’s a young medium, and it will take time for the culture at large to take it seriously. As an historian, I’m very excited about the possibility that for the first time, we are producing on a mass scale records of the voices of millions of “non-elites,” the sort of people who don’t usually wind up in archives. But if the larger culture, and in particular the gatekeepers of record keeping (the media, libraries, archives, government and private endowments) don’t take blogs seriously, these records won’t survive. The shelf-life of electronic media is actually not very good. Hopefully, the culture will change and we’ll get more serious treatment of blogs in the future. There’s a new book I’ve been meaning to pick up – Uses of Blogs – that looks like a step in the right direction.

  2. Caledonian says

    Is it actually better to drown in data? Finding things on the Internet is difficult enough – archives of the Internet are downright nightmarish. And frankly, most of the stuff on here is junk.

    Perhaps I’m an elitist, but I don’t think most people have anything interesting or worthwhile to say.

  3. thwaite says

    Blogs as part of actual science? Rather than as essentially altruistic (or persuasive) meta-science and broadened exposure? Never occurred to me.

    And now it does bother me that editors/advertisers might confuse these roles. This could make the difficult economics of primary peer-reviewed publications, whether print or online (, even more difficult.

  4. says

    Caledonian: One man’s junk is another man’s gold. Interesting? Perhaps not, and perhaps not now. But much of what historians do now is try to reconstruct daily life of ordinary people, not just the doings of kings and queens. What did they value? What did they know? What did they eat? And it’s not just what they think they’re saying that’s interesting, but what they reveal about themselves in the way they say it, the topics they choose to discuss and the one they ignore – an experienced historian can do a lot with the drivel in someone’s diary – if the diary survives. If it’s lost, then we can’t do squat.

  5. says

    One thing the author of the article doesn’t seem to realize is that there are private blogs for coordinating scientific projects. In genome projects, for example, collaborators all around the world are doing different analyses independently which ultimately need to be summarized in a genome paper. While e-mailing things back and forth was the usual way of handling things, we’ve recently set up a private blog and it seems pretty handy.