Sciblogs Year 1 – blogging up a science storm

This science blog network was launched a year ago today and as the editor and co-founder of the network I want to take the chance to thank the hard-working contributors to Sciblogs.

September Sitemeter rankings
September Sitemeter rankings

I also want to thank you our readers. Many of you have engaged with us and each other in intelligent and robust debate on all sorts of issues.

It has been a prolific year for the 30 Scibloggers – 2935 posts on a wide range of topics (as evidenced by the 4126 tags Scibloggers have come up with to accompany their posts). I haven’t been able to count up the exact number of posts submitted to but it is in the dozens and shows Scibloggers are writing longer, well-referenced reflective pieces as well as short newsy posts.

Its heartening that we ended the year with our best ever month for traffic on the back of the Canterbury earthquake and some excellent analysis of it from our bloggers including newcomers Chris McDowall (Seeing Data) and Jesse Dykstra (Shaken Not Stirred).

The response of the Sciblogs contributors showed how science blogging can really add to analysis and commentary on a science-related issue when it is top of the news agenda. A good deal of Sciblogs content featured in the mainstream media last month, including a great time-lapse animation of earthquakes and aftershocks created by Chris and a post that was syndicated to the New Zealand Herald website and was the most read opinion piece on the Herald website on September 7th.

We also welcomed on a team of active bloggers from Genetics Otago.

Science blogs proliferate

Sciblogs arrived on the scene just at the stage, or so it seems to me, when science blogging began to take off – after and several other independent science blogs and mainstream media science blogs paved the way. The last few months have seen a real shake-up and reorganisation of science blogging efforts internationally. Much of this happened in the wake of the debacle that saw several well-read bloggers there decide to leave the platform in the wake of a move by Scienceblogs to host a blog by Pepsi’s scientists.  Now I’d have found some running scientific commentary on the issues faced by one of the biggest food and beverage companies in the world fascinating, but it was plainly obvious that the blog would be problematic at best and was quickly ditched.

Since then, former contributors have started up elsewhere and new blogs have emerged – this is the most extensive directory of science blogs you are likely to find. This recent Guardian article shows there is also a healthy number of female scientists blogging.

What next?

We will be adding some more bloggers before the end of the year covering subjects like infectious diseases, psychology and archaeology. We also have an interesting publishing project in the pipeline which I’ll outline in depth in a future post.

In the meantime, we’d love your feedback on Sciblogs – what do you think of the content? Any technical features we need to add to the site? Remember also, we are always on the look-out for new bloggers, so drop us a line through the contact form if you’d like to explore the idea of joining the Sciblogs stable.

Thanks for reading and here’s to another year of quality New Zealand science blogging!

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