Blogroll: We don’t like blogs…

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[As mentioned in this post, we’re going to post the monthly blogroll column here on the Sceptical Chymist. This is December’s article.]

…we love them — but not everyone shares our opinion.

In a post on Everyday Scientist titled ‘caveat grumptor’, Sam alerted the blogosphere to an editorial in Analytical Chemistry and lit a fire that burned long and wide. Royce Murray, the journal’s editor, “casts science blogging in a very unfair light” according to Paul Bracher on ChemBark when Murray “believe[s] that the current phenomenon of ‘bloggers’ should be of serious concern to scientists”. Derek Lowe agrees on In the Pipeline that there “is indeed a lot of inaccurate nonsense on the internet”, but points out that it exists in newspapers, magazines and “in the peer-reviewed literature, too”. Lowe also takes issue with the notion that bloggers are unqualified: “the most widely read ones are all written by chemists”, and suggests that the editorial itself might have benefited from some of the fact-checking or peer-reviewing that Murray is worried is missing from blogs.

David Kroll, at the ACS’s own CENtral Science Terra Sigillata, also responds — he is concerned “that not enough scientists are bloggers” and “that a scientist of [Murray’s] stature and influence holds negative views of science blogs”. Kroll stands up for blogs, as they allow scientists to “communicate effectively to the public”. The final word goes to the commenter on Kroll’s post, identified only as ‘J’, who pointed out that Murray is “a sort of blogger and he doesn’t know it […] The difference is that his ‘blog’ is monthly, has appeared mostly in print until the past few years and there is no place for others to comment.”

Ever shaken your head at some of the more ingenious examples of table-of-contents graphics? Now you can see some choice examples and suggest your own at TOC ROFL — we must admit that a couple of Nature Chemistry’s own graphics have made the list.