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Role of blogs in communicating scientific knowledge

Scientists know much more about their field than is ever published in peer-reviewed journals. Blogs can be a good medium with which to disseminate this tacit knowledge, according to Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies Columbia University, and co-founder of RealClimate.org, in a Commentary in the April issue of Nature Geoscience (1, 208; 2008). Dr Schmidt asks “why read a blog when you can go directly to the scientific literature? Unfortunately, access to new findings in the traditional way is harder than it should be. Many technical papers are behind pay-walls, which make it impractical and expensive for unaffiliated individuals to read them. More importantly, however, even when papers are freely available, they often do not provide the insight expected.” 

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