November 17, 2008

Science blog meme: Why do we blog?

Keep Calm and Carry On via AJC1I have been virally infected by Martin Fenner’s “why do we blog” meme.

1. What is your blog about?

Science and technology, especially bioinformatics, systems biology and the Web. It is a personal laboratory notebook-cum-diary, with a few facts and many opinions that would be difficult to publish conventionally [1].

2. What will you never write about?

Banal personal trivia (“I went shopping today”), confidential work, collaborative projects before they have been published. If in doubt, I try to ask people, “is it OK if I blog this?”

3. Have you ever considered leaving science?

Already did, I left science after my undergraduate degree to work in industry, but came back after six years to do a PhD. I don’t think Science ever really leaves you, once a scientist, always a scientist. Can’t see myself “leaving” again, but you never know.

4. What would you do instead?

Tend olive trees in Greece. Sequence 10,000 + Olive tree genomes, do some olive tree systems biology [2]. Subsidise scientific research with money from olive oil export business.

5. What do you think will science blogging be like in 5 years?

Pretty much the same as it is now I reckon, maybe more senior scientists will start blogging, see big boffins with blogs.

6. What is the most extraordinary thing that happened to you because of blogging?

I’m pretty sure blogging was a significant factor in being invited to Science Foo Camp (scifoo)

7. Did you write a blog post or comment you later regretted?

Non, rien de rien. Non, je ne regrette rien. Some of the posts about semantic web and molecular biology I might come to regret in the future though, but life is too short. There is an ever present temptation to write controversial blog posts (that might be regretted later) to get more visitors to your blog. Sometimes I can’t resist. Also, there is no safety net of peer-review, so you can make mistakes very quickly, even faster than by drinking tequila. I often wonder what prospective employers and/or funding bodies would make of it all – by the time I find out, it might be too late 🙂

8. When did you first learn about science blogging?

Via nodalpoint which is run by Greg Tyrelle.

9. What do your colleagues at work say about your blogging?

So far, there have been five basic responses to my blog among colleagues.

a) Great idea, carry on (see picture, top right). Can you blog this for me?

b) Bad idea, why do you waste so much time blogging? When are you going to do some “real” work?

c) Teasing: “I’m drinking a coffee, are you blogging this?”

d) Head-in-the-sand, no acknowledgment, denial, look the other way.

e) Ignorance is bliss. What is a blog? Do you have one of those interweb things on your computer?


  1. Michael R. Seringhaus and Mark B. Gerstein (2007). Publishing perishing? towards tomorrow’s information architecture. BMC Bioinformatics 8, 17+. DOI:10.1186/1471-2105-8-17, pmid:17239245
  2. Royston Goodacre, Douglas B Kell, Giorgio Bianchi (1992). Neural networks and olive oil. Nature 359 (6396), 594. DOI:10.1038/359594a0

[Keep Calm and Carry On via AJC1]

Blog at WordPress.com.