Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The benefits of scientific blogging

A blog at The Scientist notes:

But in early 2005, he started a blog after hearing about the virtual world, Second Life. Eisen says that his eyes were opened to the nearly endless possibilities to be explored by taking scientific discussions to cyberspace. He started blogging that week, initiating his own collaborative discussion about science.

Fast forward to today—Eisen is the toast of the science blogosphere and the recipient of a new $1.3 million grant from the Sloan Foundation, which has tasked him with creating Web tools that cultivate a network of researchers working on the molecular biology of microbes that inhabit man-made environments such as homes and offices. The Sloan Foundation contacted Eisen and asked if he’d like to submit a proposal for the grant, in part because of his blog, he says.

Blogging may seem like just another extra task to add to your busy schedule, with its own pitfalls to navigate. But creating a site and finding compelling topics to write about (that won’t damage your image) can provide real benefits to your scientific career. Below, successful scientist-bloggers reveal the secrets.

As to getting a job through blogging:

In 2006, Bora Zivkovic was posting regularly at A Blog Around the Clock and coming off a graduate school stint, studying circadian rhythm biology when he heard of a job opening for an online community manager at PLoS. One weekend Zivkovic posted the job description on his blog under a heading that read, “I want this job,” and asked for comments on what he should do. His readers responded en force. “My commenters starting piling on about how I was the perfect candidate,” Zivkovic recalls. “Some addressed PLoS directly, saying they’d be crazy not to hire me.” By Monday morning, the comments had mounted, and an e-mail from a PLoS editor, Chris Surridge, topped Zivkovic’s inbox. “Should we consider this a formal application?” read the message from Surridge. Weeks later, Zivkovic had the job. “They told me that my commenters pretty much gave me the job,” he says. “It demonstrated to them that I already had a community and that I knew how to create one.”


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