Has blogging changed science writing?

Badges made for our housewarming last year. Bonus points if you get the ref.

There is an oft-made joke that the answers to questions posed by news headlines are always, when take time to consider them, a simple ‘no’. With that in mind, here’s a question headlining my essay in the latest edition of the Journal Of Science Communication: Has blogging changed science writing?

You can download the full paper on the JCom website. Spoiler warning: I think the answer is no. Or at least not much. Drawing on basic tenets of the social studies of technology, I argue there have always been more options than action when it comes to innovation in science writing, most of which we haven’t taken up. It hasn’t changed nearly as much as it could have, and we don’t know yet how much it will change. The future, as ever, is up for debate. We should think carefully about the science media we want, not what we’re given or simply left with.

As I finish the article, I don’t claim to know though. The thing I personally enjoy most about science blogging is that it seems to have make it slightly more socially acceptable to finish with questions. Of course, this has yet to weave its way through to journal design, so if you do have an answer, you might want to use the comments space here, as there isn’t one on JCom.

11 thoughts on “Has blogging changed science writing?

  1. gcbenison

    As long as the refereed journal paper remains the unit of currency for scientific reputation, I don’t think scientific writing is going to change much. Publishing anything (data, a figure, prose, etc) any place other than a journal creates the risk that the journal will not accept it as original material. There is a long-standing tradition of making an exception for material presented at conferences, but there is no such tradition for content published in online media such as blogs.

  2. Joe Milton

    “Drawing on basic tenants of the social studies of technology” – I’d be annoyed if I lived in the social studies of technology, and even more so if you started drawing on me ;)

      1. Joe Milton

        Sorry – couldn’t resist a spot of pedantry (or is it pedanitism? Note to self, must become more pedantic)

  3. Scott

    For what it’s worth, I personally love ending my blog posts with questions. Blogs invite immediate discussion, and community participation, in a way that “scholarly” articles do not. So even if the content or quality of science writing is roughly the same, I think that blogs have completely changed the landscape in terms of accessibility and participation. And that’s a very good thing, IMHO.

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