Open Lab Reviewed in Nature

The second annual anthology of science blogging has been reviewed in Nature. Joanne Baker writes,

The editor of this second anthology of the best scientific communiqués from the blogosphere thinks blogs offer new ways to discuss science. The Open Laboratory 2007: the Best Science Writing on Blogs (, 2008) takes the curious approach of using dead tree format to highlight the diversity of scientific ideas, opinions and voices flowing across the Internet.

It is a little paradoxical, when you think about it. To pick the “best” science blog posts, you have to find the ones which work in a non-bloggy format!

Next they’ll be asking which blog posts make the best plots for movies. . . .

Every year a different guest editor — here Reed Cartwright, a blogger and genetics and bioinformatics postdoc from North Carolina State University — picks the best posts to coincide with the Science Blogging Conference (in North Carolina on 19 January). First-hand accounts bring to life the stresses of a graduate student, a mother returning to the bench and an archaeologist’s joy at unearthing mammoth fossils. Topics tackled are as varied as the writers, from Viagra and tapeworms to trepanning. Explanations are often offered with a personal twist, such as a father’s tale of his child’s Asperger’s syndrome. The measured voices of trustworthy academics make medical research easy to swallow.

Just a spoonful of authority helps the medicine go down! Incidentally, do these selected highlights sound slanted to the life sciences? Well, I should really be asking the same question about the full list of entries, but on that list we’ve got the perils of taking averages, what a “year” really means, the life and death of cold fusion, cyberwar and quantum algorithms, not to slight a more philosophical piece on testability in Earth science.

If you are overwhelmed by the surge in science-related blogging and don’t know where to start, then this compilation may help you steer a course through the sea of perspectives on offer — or inspire you to start a blog yourself.

Well, I guess I didn’t screw things up for everybody else, after all.

(Tip’a the fedora to Bora.)