Blogging for an eScientist – more thoughts

It is often exciting and rewarding when someone from outside regular contributors comments so I’ll reply to  Jean Calvin (blog: Post Tenebras Lux) Submitted on 2009/04/10 at 9:44am

Good timing Peter! I started off a new blog recently and have been bogged down in the detritus of academic life. I knew blogging took time but it suffered when I hit a busy period just after my teaching finished (never understood how that worked).

Regarding the choice of theme, how important is this? I’d like a blend of themes but suspect that this might end up a little too entropic for the general reader…

Here are a few more thoughts. I had a look at your site, Jean and I have added it to my blogroll, and my feedreader so you gain a little blog karma. You already seem to have picked a theme – you want to communicate science and I’d urge you to stick with it. It can be difficult at the start because you may not know anyone is reading your blog, but even the act of writing is therapeutic. be patient – it can take weeks or more before you get feedback, but you may also find that you have discovered your theme or role. Be honest, and say as much or as little as you feel you can. You are in public, yes, but unless you say something really outrageous or illegal the sky won’t fall in.

Read other blogs and consider joining an aggregator such as or and (where you can submit your blog for wider visibility). [I can’t remember which of these are invitation and which act as a service.] Perhaps early days, but maybe some of my readers will give you hints.

I know it’s hard work, and I know I don’t do it as much as I should, but consider adding links to other blogs and explanatory links (for example link to Higgs Boson in Wikipedia).

You may find it useful to think of a particular readership and tune your posts to them, or you may wish to write more broadly and see what gets picked.

But above all do it because you want to, or feel you are driven to – not because you feel it’s your duty.

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3 Responses to Blogging for an eScientist – more thoughts

  1. Jean,
    I would also recommend thinking about what you like to gain from blogging. If you like to learn more about Higgs Bosons, blog about that. If you want to have your research known, blog about that. If you like to see everyone promote Open Data, because you need their data for your cool data analysis methods, do that. If you know what you like to achieve with blogging, then you know why you are doing it, and things will come fluently.
    While it is wise to have a main topic, the list of actual goals can be multiple. I blog about things I want others to hear about, about what I am doing on open chemoinformatics, but also to reply on blogs by others. Particularly the last is good for community building. I like to see blogging as attending a conference: I can read other blogs passively, but when I have something to see, I jump in via my blog and reply.
    This latter takes me the most effort, though. For example, I have not found time yet to reply about Nico’s ChemAxiom or OWL-based CML mentioned in this blog… and in those cases, replying with commetns is faster. And, like common in paper publishing too, you’re more than invited to back up such comments with links to other, including your own, blogs as reference material…

  2. Jean Calvin says:

    Thanks both for the comments, encouragement and tips! Yes I find it a duty, but also a pleasure. At the moment I intend partly just blogging what interests although I would rather not directly blog my own research (time will tell if I give in on this). Part of my problem is finding time to put down something that approaches a coherent thought, let alone figuring out about trackbacks, pingbacks and the like: one thing at a time!

  3. Pingback: Why am I doing this? « Post Tenebras Lux

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