Saturday, May 17, 2008

blogless scientists?

Earlier this month, I held my annual half-day writing course for scientists at Cambridge. Like I did the last few times, I asked people at the end of the proceedings whether they were using blogs or other web2.0 features for their scientific communications, and each time I had an overwhelming silence as a response.

Is that because scientists are stuck on web1.7, or are they afraid to admit that they waste time on facebook, I wonder? I haven't spent all that much thought on the possibilities, but it strikes me that a lot of the communications that have in the past been channelled through boring meetings could be made a lot more efficient (and searchable!!!) through the use of blogging.

Thus, instead of the journal clubs we used to have back in the 90s, each lab could have a journal blog highlighting papers relevant to their field of inquiry. Instead of workshop meetings, there could be online exchanges of some kind.

Maybe these things are going on somewhere and I've just missed them, but my impression is that research scientists, who were very quick to pick up email and websites in the 90s, have somehow managed to miss out on the opportunities of the web2.0 revolution. Any opinions ?

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