To Blog or Not To Blog

Recently, Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory said it would require bloggers to  ask permission before blogging about a presentation, just like reporters. A surprising editorial in  Nature says “not only is that a bad idea, but it should just be disregarded.

Nature has made the case that blogging by researchers is good. Critical discussion of worthy results should not in principle be restricted to walls of a conference hall or even the pages of a journal. Any meeting to which anyone can register is fair game for all available communications technologies — and any rules that cannot be policed will be ignored anyway.

Of course, I have my own opinions on this but what what do our readers, often scientists and bloggers, think?

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

3 Replies to “To Blog or Not To Blog”

  1. I read (and occasionally write for) science blogs. My feelings are along the lines of Dr. Isis’ post (quoted below) except that I think a blog-safe icon would be a good idea:

    “I want to see journalists and bloggers at conferences talking about all the science that is ready to talk about. But, if it’s that much a non-issue then bloggers can ask for permission too. I like to talk about my science. I like to see my science discussed. But, as the architect of my science, I need to have the discretion to decide the venue in which my science appears.

    The answer isn’t to ask participants to put a blog-safe icon on posters so that you don’t have to interact with the scientists and can crank out as many tweets and posts as fast as possible. It’s to talk to the scientists, ask them about their work, and learn the reasonable interpretation of their findings.

    Otherwise, I’m not gonna lie, I’m gonna start clamming up.”

  2. Meetings have always been public venues. A competitor has always been able to walk up to your poster, look at it, and tell anyone they want. I don’t get why people think the rules have changed.

  3. Science blogging is an opportunity for important research to be more easily accessible. This especially holds true for people who don’t peruse thousands of peer-reviewed journals night and day, and are just looking for an interesting, researched story.

    I support the “Nature” editorial comment.

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