We need markup for science blogs

Martin Fenner
August 11, 2008 1 min read

Like many other blogging platforms, Nature Network uses Textile to format blog entries. Textile is a markup language, and Andrew Sun has nicely put together the most important tags in this blog post.

Unfortunately, Textile doesn't much help with formatting that is specific to science blogging. Specifically, there is no standard way to link to journal articles. Should we use the DOI, should we link to Pubmed, or should we link to the journal homepage? If we do the latter, should we link to the fulltext (that might not be accessible to everybody) or the abstract? And why is there no standard markup for this?

MediaWiki, the platform behind Wikipedia, uses a different markup language. Here, linking to PubMed is semiautomated. Linking to DOIs is also supported. And the Biblio extension, also used by OpenWetWare, makes linking to papers even easier.

We have often talked about standard data formats. And the small things also matter. One result of standard blog linking to papers: it would become much easier to find all blog posts that link to a particular paper.