Peer-to-Peer

Sharing insights with researchers

The two Nature Geoscience Commentaries expressing opposing views on blogging’s role in science research communication have been much discussed in the blogosphere (see Climate Feedback blog, for example.). One discussion took place at RealClimate blog, where Gavin Schmidt’s post about his Nature Geoscience view on how science blogs and traditional peer-review intersect has attracted more than 100 online comments from climate scientists and others.

One commenter, “Tamino”, writes: “Blogs don’t serve very well for communication among scientists. Peer review does more than just protect us from being inundated with substandard work; it protects authors from their own mistakes and improves the quality of what we write. Peer review itself is an immensely valuable avenue of communication; who among us hasn’t at some time included a phrase like “We thank an anonymous referee for comments and suggestions which dramatically improved the final manuscript”?

But as bad as blogs are for actual research, peer-reviewed journals are far worse for communicating with and educating the lay reader. Yet when it comes to climate science the lay public is hungry for knowledge, and many of them are eager, and well-prepared, for a level of sophistication and detail that can’t be found in lay journalism or even popular literature; An Inconvenient Truth isn’t enough. So blogs serve an incredibly useful purpose, enabling the interested and well-educated reader to share insights with researchers who are at the cutting edge of new knowledge…………………while blogs aren’t part of the machinery for legitimate scientific research, they’re an indispensible tool for communication and combating misinformation.”

More to follow.

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