Why do we blog and other important questions, answered by 34 science bloggers

Martin Fenner
November 30, 2008 4 min read

What started out as a few questions to science bloggers ( in the Nature Network Bloggers Forum, has turned into a collection of more than 30 blog posts not limited to Nature Network (big thanks to Bora ( and others for spreading the word). The following science bloggers answered a set of 10 questions about their blogging (roughly in chronological order):

Please contact me if I missed a blog post.

Reading these blog posts is not only interesting and entertaining, but probably also a very good introduction to the current state of science blogging. Below is a personal summary of some of the answers. Oh, the best title was probably from Frank Norman ( La meme chose.

1. What is your blog about?

Most bloggers seem to write about many different science-related topics. And only a minority about the actual science they are doing. Some bloggers gave more specific answers:

2. What will you never write about?

Several people mentioned that they would not give out personal information about other people, or comment directly on what's going on in their institution/company. Most people also avoid to talk religious beliefs or politics. Confidential information, including unreleased papers, was mentioned several times. The release of calcium from intracellular stores ( is another topic that several people would never blog about. Also:

3. Have you ever considered leaving science?

Several people said something similar to Bora Zivkovic ( Leaving research – yes, I already did that. Leaving science – never.

4. What would you do instead?

Some interesting answers. And a science background would be helpful in most of the jobs:

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

This was a difficult question that some didn't answer. Larry Moran ( said: pretty much the same as it is now. T. Ryan Gregory ( thinks that more professional researchers will join the blogosphere as this becomes socially acceptable. Andrew Perry ( thinks that research groups will be tied together more and more by their blogs. Eva Amsen ( thinks that there will be so many science blogs that we have to specialize. And I wrote that some science bloggers will be able to make enough money to earn a living from it.

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

Thomas Soderqvist ( said that there is no the most extraordinary thing. But I hadn't expected to get so many interesting contacts with colleagues around the world. Many people (including myself) had similar answers. Going to SciFoo ( is certainly an extraordinary thing an SciFoo invitation was mentioned by Pedro Beltrao (, Jim Hardy (, Duncan Hull ( and Deepak Singh ( Some other answers:

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

For most people that was not a big issue. Ed Yong ( regrets to have written nice things about studies that later turned out to be rubbish not so good.

8. When did you first learn about science blogging?

Many different answers. Nodalpoint ( was mentioned by several bloggers, including Duncan Hull (, Paolo Nuin ( and Pedro Beltrao ( T. Ryan Gregory ( was introduced to science blogging by his graduate student. The most hilarious answer is from Henry Gee ( and involves a garage, an old washing-machine motor and heavier-than-air flight.

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

The standard answer seems to be that most of them don't know or don't care. I would hope that in the future we will have more answers like the one from Bora Zivkovic ( That's what they are paying me for and I hope they are happy.

10. How the heck do you have time to blog and do research at the same time?

Most people blog in their spare time. I hope to see more daytime bloggers that blog as part of their science job in 5 years (this relates to questions #5, #8 and #9).

11. Extra credit: are you able to write an entry to your blog that takes the form of a poem about your research?

Not all bloggers answered that question, but you can find poetry by Heather Etchevers ( (who suggested that question), Stephen Curry ( (who inspired it), Henry Gee (, Eva Amsen (, Bora Zivkovic (, Maxine Clarke ( (a play), Massimo Pinto ( (science fiction), Shirley Wu ( (karaoke), Mike Fowler (, Erika Cule (, Kristi Vogel (, Bob O'Hara ( (art), Viktor Po ( (a dance) and myself ( Paolo Nuin ( needs a few more encouraging comments before he will write a poem.

Update: Andrew Perry ( has created two great wordle images for question #1 ( and question #2 (

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Contopoulos-Ioannidis, D. G., Alexiou, G. A., Gouvias, T. C., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2008). Life Cycle of Translational Research for Medical Interventions. Science, 321(5894), 1298–1299.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2005. (2015). In

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