Welcome Scientific American Blog Network!
We have an exciting announcement to make this morning. Our new blog network has launched!
To our existing line-up of eight blogs you are all familiar with, we have added another 39. There are now six editorial blogs, six personal blogs written by our editors and staff, and 42 independent bloggers who will write on our platform starting today.
Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina, has written a welcome post, explaining what the network means to Scientific American.
And I have written an introductory post in which I introduce all the blogs and bloggers on our brand- new network.
This is a stellar lineup of bloggers. Give them a hearty welcome in the comments of their introductory posts, and keep coming back to read their amazing writing.
With my experience writing on three blog networks over the last five years – ScienceBlogs, CENtral Science, and PLoS Blogs – I can say that SciAm Blogs is a truly major addition to the science outreach mission of blogs, not just among scientists but to the general public as well. We’re more sort of a niche network here at CENtral Science, really tailored to the chemistry audience, so I don’t view SciAm as competition but rather as a great addition to the community.
Global public affairs expert David Wescott noted at his blog, It’s Not A Lecture, that Bora was supremely clever in assembling the SciAm network – although I disagree with David’s contention that all other blog networks are second to the SciAm network (of course I disagree!).
David specifically cited this passage from way, way down at the bottom of Bora’s explanatory post on how the bloggers were selected:
Another thing I was particularly interested in was to find bloggers who in some way connect the “Two Cultures” as described by C.P.Snow. Some connect science to history, philosophy, sociology or ethics. Many are very interested in science education, communication and outreach. Some make connections between science and popular culture, music, art, illustration, photography, cartoons/comic strips, poetry, literature, books, movies, TV, video, etc. Several produce such cross-discipline and cross-cultural material themselves – at least two are musicians, two are professional photographers, several produce videos, two are professional artists, a couple are authors of multiple books, some produce their own blog illustrations. But there are also commonalities – they all have strong knowledge of their topic, they strictly adhere to the standards of scientific evidence, they are all very strong writers, and they are all enthusiastic to share their work with a broader audience.
When I put together this group, with such diverse interests and styles, it was not surprising to discover that, without really having to try hard to make it so, they also display diversity in many other areas: geography, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, personal/professional/scientific background and more. This is something that is important for science, and is important in the science blogging world.
David noted there that this might thin the herd of science blog networks, particularly since some bloggers are old ScienceBlogs folks or have come from other networks to establish a second or revived blog. There’s certainly only so much one can read each day – heck, I couldn’t even get through half of the new blogs during lunch today.
But I’m not concerned about us here at CENtral Science – many of the SciAm bloggers are friends and supporters and routinely comment here. I only see one major writer with a true chemistry background: Winthrop University chemistry grad, NYU SHERP grad, now digital and TV producer, Cassie Rodenberg, at her blog, The White Noise. However, Cassie will be writing more about addiction and mental health – exceedingly important topics that I often cover here. So, I don’t suspect that she’ll be doing much hard-core chemblogging.
[I honestly haven’t had a chance to run through all of the blogs so if you see any others that might be more chemistry related, just drop a note in the comments below]
As for other blog networks, PZ Myers of ScienceBlogs has marked the launch of the SciAm Blog Network as the death of the network whose traffic he has sustained for five-and-a-half years:
I hate to say it, but there’s no avoiding the stinking corpse on the living room rug: Scienceblogs.com is dead. It might be twitching still, but that’s just the biota working beneath the skin, and soon they’ll erupt and start looking for new hosts.
Many already have. Scientopia was one of the early products of a Sb diaspora, and now Bora has announced the Scientific American network, which also has a swarm of very good bloggers, some formerly of Scienceblogs, but also some new and interesting faces. Scienceblogs won’t be competing with SciAm; it can’t, and there’s a lack of interest in doing so.
At the end of the post, PZ notes, “I think I’ll be flying away soon, too, but that’s a different announcement that will have to wait a little longer.” Now THAT will kill ScienceBlogs. PZ keeps his SiteMeter information public and you will be astounded to see numbers in the range of 3 million visits per month. In my day, PZ’s traffic accounted for 60+% of the network traffic, probably more today.
But on a more optimistic note, hearty congratulations to all of my friends at the Scientific American Blog Network. This is simply great news for science.
And on a personal note to my dear old friend, Bora: Well done, my good man.
Bora’s roundup post lists all the blogs with short descriptions.
And here’s the frontpage for the network.
Updated 5 July 2011, 9:30 pm – Oooh boy, am I embarrassed. I completely missed that San José State University professor, Dr. Janet Stemwedel, has a blog at SciAm called Doing Good Science (as she kindly pointed out in the comments). This is a very offensive oversight on my part for many reasons. Janet was on of the 14 original writers at ScienceBlogs and essentially the den mother of the blogging class when I joined the network in June 2006. In my induction ceremony, Janet bestowed upon me the nickname, “Exit 153A,” to denote our common upbringing in Bergen County, New Jersey. She has also become a dear friend and colleague over the years but the SciAm blog lineup was so underwraps that I had no idea she was launching there.
And for me to overlook her chemistry background? Janet holds two PhD degrees: one in physical chemistry and one in philosophy.
But perhaps most importantly, she literally has chemistry under her skin as evidenced by her tattoo of a woman chemist with a bubbling Erlenmeyer (detailed here at Carl Zimmer’s Science Tattoo Emporium).
My sincerest apologies DrDr. Stemwedel.