Field of Science

A Science Blogger Survey

Have you ever wondered why people write science blogs? In the age of Twitter and Instagram are science blogs still popular? Is science blogging dying out? Does anyone actually read them? Feedback from readers can sometimes be few and far in between. As the writer of a science blog it sometimes feels like I am shouting into an internet void. Is anyone listening?

I recently participated in a survey that went out to science bloggers about this very topic. I was excited to participate in someone's dissertation research and interested to see what came from the survey. The research is being conducted by Dr. Paige Brown Jarreau (@FromTheLabBench) at Louisiana State University. She is disseminating her data and results using open access platforms that enable us to see behind the scenes and to check out the research results prior to formal scientific publications. 

So what information does she have out there for us to explore and what can we learn from her study about science blogging?

Brown, Paige (2014): MySciBlog Survey - 
Top Read SciBlogs by SciBloggers. figshare.
Part of the research involved determining the connections between science blogs. Answering questions like, as a science blogger which science blogs do you read? Or who are the science bloggers that follow your science blog? Interesting questions, but how do you display this type of data once you have the information? Here Paige walks you step by step through the process of using data to map a social network.

The best part in my opinion is this interactive network available on figshare. You can zoom in on different parts of the network and see how connected each of the science blogs and bloggers are to others in the community. You can find Moss Plants in Group 8. The black cluster in the lower right corner. I follow other science bloggers, but no one else in the survey follows my blog. A bit disappointing, but potentially to be expected. Another interesting pattern that you can see from this graphic is the highly connected red blog on the left side. That is blog Not Exactly Rocket Science from National Geographic. It looks to be very popular among science bloggers and might be one that I need to check out to see what it is all about. 

The slides from Paige's dissertation presentation walk you through the big picture and major findings of her research. She also breaks the research down point by point in this blog post.

For some additional reading on this project check out Paige's blog post that argues using her data that science blogs are not dying. Thank goodness! My posting has become more monthly rather than weekly these days and I was pondering whether or not I should keep it up. For now I am still in for blogging, but I am contemplating inviting some colleagues to guest post. So if you know of anyone who is interested in practicing their science communication skills and writing posts about mosses just drop me a message. 

June 2015 Desktop Calendar

Another group of mosses from my bryological adventures in Chile this past winter!

1 - Single click on the image to open it up in a new window. (If you use the image directly from the blog post you will lose a lot of resolution.)

2 - Right-click (or ctrl-click) on the image, and chose the option that says, "Set as Desktop Background" or "Use Image as Desktop Picture" or "Save Image As...". The wording may vary. (If saving the image to your computer is the only option, then locate it on your computer and choose the "Set as Desktop Background" or "Use Image as Desktop Picture" option from there.)

3 - If the image does not fit your desktop neatly, you may have to adjust the image (Mac: System Preferences - Desktop and Screen Saver - Desktop; Windows: Control Panel - Display - Desktop) and choose "Fill screen" as the display mode of your background image.