This is the last Gobbledygook (http://blogs.plos.org/mfenner?) post on PLOS Blogs, and at the same time the first post at the new Github blog location (http://blog.martinfenner.org/?). I have been blogging at PLOS Blogs since the PLOS Blogs Network (http://blogs.plos.org/blogosphere/?) was launched in September 2010, so this step wasn’t easy. But I have two good reasons.
In May 2012 I started to work as technical lead for the PLOS Article-Level Metrics (http://article-level-metrics.plos.org/?) project. Although this is contract work, and I also do other things - including spending 5% of my time as clinical researcher at Hannover Medical School - this created the awkward situation that I was never quite sure whether I was blogging as Martin Fenner or as someone working for PLOS. This was all in my head, as I never had any restrictions in my blogging from PLOS. With the recent launch of the PLOS Tech Blog (http://blogs.plos.org/tech/?) there is now a good venue for the kind of topics I like to write about, and I have started to work on two posts for this new blog.
There will always be topics for which the PLOS Tech Blog is not a good fit, and for these posts I have launched the new personal blog at Github. But the main reason for this new blog is a technical one: I’m moving away from blogging on Wordpress to writing my posts in markdown (http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/?) (a lightweight markup language), that are then transformed into static HTML pages using Jekyll (http://jekyllrb.com/?) and Pandoc (http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/?). Last weekend I co-organized the workshop Scholarly Markdown (https://github.com/scholmd/markdown_science/wiki?) together with Stian Håklev (http://twitter.com/houshuang?). A full workshop report will follow in another post, but the discussions before, at and after the workshop convinced me that Scholarly Markdown has a bright future and that it is time to move more of my writing to markdown. At the end of the workshop each participant suggested a todo item (https://github.com/scholmd/markdown_science/wiki/Todo-list-from-workshop?) that he/she would be working on, and my todo item was “Think about document type where MD shines”. Markdown might be good for writing scientific papers, but I think it really shines in shorter scientific documents that can easily be shared with others. And blog posts are a perfect fit.
The new site is work in progress. Over time I will copy over all old blog posts from PLOS Blogs, and will work on the layout as well as additional features. Special thanks to Carl Boettiger (http://carlboettiger.info/?) for helping me to get started with Jekyll and Github pages.