Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Out of Blog Experience

It is always a very strange feeling for me to read about my blog elsewhere on the web, especially if, as in this example, I don't recognize myself in what is written.

It's great that there was a forum on women-in-science blogs and other internet venues at the AAAS meeting, but after a brief description of this blog and Zuska's, the article quotes a journalist who describes blogs as “a way of getting your work out there to the public and also to the attention of your colleagues.. [They are] kind of an end run around the citation system.” Right.. and that's why so many women-in-science blogs are anonymous? Or maybe that quotation refers to the description of a science fiction website in the next paragraph in the article.

OK.. I still don't get that quote, but the article is clearly about women-in-science internet sites.

Although a substantial portion of the content of this blog could be described as involving General Academic topics, clearly my blog has a women-in-science theme, as is subtly implied by the name. As I was thinking about this, I realized I had no idea what % of my posts explicitly involve my experiences as a FemaleScienceProfessor as compared to those that could be described as General Academia (& Other) Topics.

I just scanned my archives for the past year, and a quick count indicates that the % of blog posts with a women-in-science theme ranges from ~9-50%/month (average = 30% over the past year or so). The months that have a high women-in-science content seem to correspond to times when I have a high frequency of interactions with colleagues, typically through conferences, other meetings, or committee work.

Although my quick survey indicates a topic frequency of General Academia > Women-in-Science >> Random/Bizarre Topics, it's all part of my experience as an FSP, however you want to classify this blog. Too bad this blog is a total end run* around the citation system.

* reluctant use of sports (football) terminology


Anonymous said...

You got to wonder where the journalists come up with those things. One of my disappointments here is that I'm dying to know what content actually lights your fire about science, and, of course, your anonymity prevents you from talking about that.

But, apparently, the journalist is able to deduce the science you actually do, allowing you an end run around the citation system normally used for your actual publications.

Are there blogs we would categorize as being "end runs around citations" (i.e. an attempt to get work out rather than actual publication)? My guess in my own field is not, because it simply wouldn't count. The only people who can try that scheme of "publication" are those who are really journalists, rather than scientists (i.e. neurophilosophy, cognitive daily, . . .).

Oh, that line of thought makes me guess why the journalists might have seen your blog that way -- it's because blogs are a way for writers to do a "end run" around the normal publication system, and the normal process of journalism (editors, and people who review your work for publication). So, he/she was projecting.

Ms.PhD said...

too bad that article was so badly written/edited to death. it really didn't make any sense at all.

but hey, any PR is good PR-?

chall said...

I must agree on the fact that almost all of the female science blogs I am reading at the time (about 6 post doc and 5 non postdoc but more profs and tenure women) are anonymous. The only one not is probably the one on Nature blogroll and that would have to do with lablit.com

Anyhow, I have benefitted enormously from reading these during the last two years and I don't think I have said anything until now but this blog, in particular, have given me much clarity in my own future carreer.


Buffalo Sally said...

Cheers to you for having this blog! I am also deeply concerned about issues related to women in science. It is wonderful that you are addressing these concerns via this blog. Discrimination, discouragement and harrassment are unfortunately too commonplace for current and future female scientists. Hopefully the leaders in academia will pay attention (wake up!) and not only address these issues (that is, give lip service) but actually do something about them. I wish we could have a FemaleScienceProfessor Conference where department chairs are involved and made to listen to you for at least 2 weeks. You have a lot to say and are articulate enough to get their attention. Thanks so much for your efforts to improve the science environment better for everyone!

Rebecca said...

That article made little to no sense, and I hope that is why the AAAS panelists came across as having absolutely no familiarity with the internet. I found this quote particularly telling:

“If we don’t sit down first and say, what do they want from a board,” Ms. Jesse said, “we’re going to build something that might not be what we want.”

Message boards and other online social networking evolve rapidly to suit the needs of the community using it. Why wait another six months or year to put something together? By the time they have a forum up (UBBoards, circa 2001, I'm sure), women scientists will have cobbled together their own network of useful blogs and Facebook groups and email lists.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Computer Scientist, and I know of at least one female-run blog in which the author attempts to get her work out to a wider audience. The blog is danah boyd's apophenia blog. She writes a lot of posts in which she seems to be simply getting all of her thoughts out at once concerning a new research projection, then she asks her readers for feedback. danah isn't the norm, but that is at least one site to which the journalist could have been referring.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

ah, right, end runs around citations. What?? Peer reviewed blogs by known authors then maybe.