Thursday, February 28, 2008

Faculty Bloggers: Hello?

Where are the faculty bloggers?

That’s a question we’ve been asking around Duke -- and it turns out others are wondering the same thing.

A recent posting in the blog Evolgen cast a broad net, asking for readers to rat out faculty in their own fields who have set up camp in the blogosphere. This blog covers evolutionary genetics, and it cited seven faculty (limited to principle investigators of an active research lab) who blog about their research.

But, the blog added, there must be more in this and other fields, right? Right?

One commenter suggested the apparent paucity of faculty bloggers may be greatest among the higher-ups, as there seem to be more bloggers among postdocs and grad students. In fact, at Duke we’ve ferreted out a number of such bloggers, along with blogging undergraduates, as noted in the DukeResearch blogroll.

Might it be, as another commenter suggests, that “a research professional is better off spending the time on his or her investigations, not at the keyboard writing new posts”?

Not so, responds Jonathan Eisen (photo), a professor at the University of California, Davis, Genome Center:

I have found that blogging is one of the best ways to communicate my research. I get more people finding out about what my lab does and what I am interested in from my blog than from papers, or from presentations at conferences. In addition, research results can be communicated to the public and in my opinion should be.

Even with a baby onboard, Eisen is now expanding his blogging as the new academic editor at the open access journal Public Library of Science.

So, we’re still looking for Duke faculty bloggers to highlight. And with summer coming up, when scads of faculty take to the field, blogging opportunities should blossom.

Hint, hint.

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