When Sciblogger and SMC colleague Aimee Whitcroft and myself started developing Sciblogs in August last year little did we suspect that just five months down the track the site would feature over 30 blogs, 1600 posts and 2 finalists in the prestigious Research Blogging awards!
Sciblogs was an experiment to try and engage science communicators and scientists keen to give blogging a go, a hassle-free platform to write about their research, science and the link between science and society. We pursued the best science bloggers in the country and persuaded them to syndicate their content through Sciblogs and invited scientists new to blogging to come on-board and test the medium.
What we have found five months in, is that there are numerous scientists in New Zealand who are passionate about communicating their science and adding to scientific discourse in this country. They realise that the way science communication works is by necessity changing as imformation becomes more immediate to people via the internet and a greater degree of openness is demanded of the science system.
We have noticed that since the launch of Sciblogs, existing science-oriented bloggers outside of Sciblogs have upped their game, blogging more often.
There’s also substantial appetite among readers for material written by scientists and many interesting and thought-provoking discussions have taken place in the Sciblogs comment threads over the last few months – and seeded discussion on other blogs and via Twitter too.
The strength of Sciblogs has been the breadth of experience among the contributors which means a large number of subjects are tackled. Even a hot topic like climate change only accounts for barely four per cent of the posts on Sciblogs. Topical and breaking news stories are analysed while more reflective pieces about how science is carried out are among the most popular posts on Sciblogs so far.
A two-way conversation
We told all the contributors from day one that if they were willing to have an opinion in public, they should be willing to defend it in public and that is exactly what they have done as they’ve engaged with readers and in some cases the media which has followed up their posts. Sciblogs is a forum for discussion and hundreds have so far registered to leave comments.
A successful series featuring Scibloggers on Radio New Zealand over the summer and numerous news stories show the Sciblogs community is actually generating mainstream media coverage of science.
So where to from here? In the next few months expect some technical improvements to the website (and we’d love your suggestions on that front), some new science bloggers will join Sciblogs and we’ll kick off a couple of exciting initiatives that should break new ground in how science communication is done in New Zealand.
So thanks to the hard working Scibloggers, thanks to readers for your interesting comments and thanks also to our hardworking web developer Marker Studio for all its effort making WordPress work for dozens of bloggers with differing needs.
The table below breaks down some of the stats we’ve been gathering on Sciblogs – the contributors, the content and the website traffic.
Want to contribute?
We are taking submissions for our Guest Work blog now. If you want to write a piece on a science-related issue, let us know.
If you are a scientist or science communicator and are interested in having a blog hosted on Sciblogs please get in touch. At the moment we are looking for bloggers in the following areas in particular: agricultural science, energy, earth science and natural hazards.
Science bloggers who have existing blogs who are interested in syndicating some or all of their posts through Sciblogs are also welcome to apply to join Sciblogs.