By Sarah-Jane O'Connor 17/06/2022

For 13 years, Sciblogs has been a staple in New Zealand’s science-writing landscape. Our bloggers have written about a vast variety of topics from climate change to covid, and from nanotechnology to household gadgets.

But sadly, it’s time to close shop. Sciblogs will be shutting down on 30 June.

When it was launched in 2009, Sciblogs hosted an initial stable of 25 bloggers. This number has waxed and waned over the years as some writers moved onto greener pastures, or no longer had time to blog regularly.

In recent years, these departing bloggers haven’t been replaced by new writers and the number of total bloggers contributing to the site has dwindled. We suspect this has to do with the many other options for science writers in New Zealand, from running their own social media, to writing for The Conversation, Newsroom or The Spinoff, along with the general decline of blogging as a medium.

We’re left with a site that is largely republished material, particularly from the New Zealand branch of The Conversation which offers a great avenue for scientists who want to communicate to a wider audience. The website is now also getting old and would need a major overhaul, which the Science Media Centre – Sciblogs’ host – isn’t in a position to meet.

With all that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to close Sciblogs entirely. 

We understand the responsibility we have to preserve the site’s content, and we’re working with the New Zealand Web Archive team at the National Library to capture a complete, publicly searchable archive of the site. They are aware of the significance of the Sciblogs to NZ blogging culture and have called its closure “the end of an era”. 

Some of Aotearoa’s best-known science communicators have contributed to Sciblogs, from Shaun Hendy, who says much of his writing from his first two books evolved from his blogging, to Siouxsie Wiles, who started blogging early in her arrival to NZ and covered such topics as the Fonterra botulism scare that helped get her on the radar of journalists in need of a scientist who could communicate clearly.

Some of our best-read blogs were often the ones that answered people’s most burning questions, like Daniel Collins’ post calculating how much water it takes to produce a litre of milk, which has had thousands of hits since it was published a decade ago and continues to attract readers through search engines. Grant Jacobs’ 2013 post on spotting a badly-drawn DNA helix also gets an honourable mention, and Grant gets MVP for publishing over 1,000 posts since joining Sciblogs at its 2009 launch.

So we agree with the National Library team, this is an end of an era, and one we’ve been proud to host for 13 years. But all good things must come to an end, so we hope you’ll join us in farewelling Sciblogs and thanking all the writers who have contributed over the years.