From the Nature Network blogs

If you’ve wondered about starting your own blog, have a look at Nature Network, where scientists of all kinds are blogging. It is free, quick and simple to set up the blog, and you’ll find yourself connected with researchers and others with overlapping interests.

You can see who is blogging at Nature Network by going to the blog index and reading whichever blogs catch your interest. Recent posts from all the blogs are featured on the blog index page, so that’s another way to see what’s truly current. Here are a few posts that I’ve enjoyed reading this week:

In her blog Mind the Gap, Jennifer Rohn records what it’s like to return to the bench after a spell in the science literary scene running the LabLit website. The post In which I rejoice in muscle memory is a vivacious description of planning her first experiment since her long break. "With due consideration of my long hiatus, I showed what I thought was a ridiculously stripped-down plan to the lab’s two leading experts on Drosophila cell culture RNAi: a pilot tissue culture experiment with a mere eight samples. I waited expectantly as the Ph.D. student studied my scribbles. But then he slowly started shaking his head. “Your first experiment in four years?” he said dubiously. “Only four wells, maximum. Get rid of half of this.” "

Attila Csordas, whose Network blog is called Science Hacker, looks at the role of comic books in science popularization. Cartoons are terrific education tools, writes Attila, as well as howtoons, cartoons showing kids of all ages “How To” build things. “What about cartoons for scientists? After all, experimental results, short communications and complete articles could be presented in a cartoon way, let us just juxtapose the figures of an article with good graphics and build a story upon them.” Nature ‘s synthetic biology cover and online comic in its issue of 24 November 2005 being a good example.

In her Network blog Time for a Change, Linda Cooper suggests that "there’s a better way to write a scientific article. Currently, published articles are unnecessarily difficult to read and researchers need to be trained in how to write about their research." Here she explains why the active voice, useful transitions and clear subjects help readers. The post at the link takes a paragraph from the Allen Brain Atlas part by part, providing an original, a descontstruction and a revised version of each section. Head on over and tell her which you think is best.

These are just three of the many lively blogs on the Nature Network. Check it out, and have a go yourself.


  1. Report this comment

    Mario Pineda-Krch said:

    Great work Nature guys and girls.

    I just was wondering about this a few minutes ago on another blog. What about setting up Journal Club blog on the Nature Network?

    Maxine adds: Thank you for the suggestion, which I will pass on. We do have a Nature Journal Club blog for Nature’s weekly journal club at /journalclub/ — so do look at that also. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Report this comment

    Mario Pineda-Krch said:

    Thanks Maxine, I have been paying visits to the NJC. I am not entirely clear, however, about who gets to post on it.

    Imagine there is a group of people (grad students, postdocs and faculty at different universities) that are interested in starting a virtual journal club on a specific topic (specifically evolutionary biology). Would it be feasible to let them use the NJC forum for their endeavor?

    (Maxine writes, I have replied by email. The short answer is that any scientist can set up a blog (journal club or other) at Nature Network and it is very easy to do. If anyone has further questions along these lines, please do email us at the address given at the top “blurb” of this blog.)

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