Action Potential

Open Laboratory 2008 – last call for submissions, but I’ll just take your comments

Science blogging is becoming a fairly large entity, if you haven’t noticed. NPG alone sponsors seventeen of them. Launched in January 2006, has had over 50,000 posts and 555,000 comments on 66 blogs. This is a good thing for both the general public and for science, as again the internet proves its worth by easily bringing together populations of people who may have only rarely mixed otherwise.

Science blogging is so popular that it now has its own anthology. Bora Zivkovic, a blogger on Scienceblogs and the community manager for PLoS ONE, was the editor of the first anthology citing the best science blogs last year, and he’s now accepting nominations for this year’s edition. It is time to perform your civic duty and vote, if you feel a strong desire to do so. Nature would love to see a number of its blogs represented in this list, I guess as a means to establish legitimacy or something. I, for one, will decline to vote.

Motivation comes in terms of carrots and sticks, with publication in an anthology representing a carrot, in this case. I prefer the stick. One of my most cherished exchanges during the short tenure I have had writing on this blog was my argument with Drugmonkey regarding the role that Nature Neuroscience and other prestigious journals play in perpetuating paranoia in the research community. I represent this negative feedback and criticism as a stick. But frankly, receiving criticism is exactly why I write. I want to overcome the activation energy required to make someone state, on the record, their opinion on a particular topic. I see this as a challenge, and every comment is a small victory. Participating in a debate can be one of the more motivating intellectual exercises, causing people to believe things even more passionately once engaged in the deliberation than before it started. Therefore, my carrot is the stick.

So if you are feeling nice enough to nominate one of my postings for this anthology, I appreciate the thought, but I would much rather have you comment on that entry and enrich this small community with your thoughts. To me, that would be a more valuable compliment.


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    Noah Gray said:

    Touché, Pedro. Your point is well taken. I like the arguments, but alas, I’ll take the concurring statements as well.