Are science blogs facing extinction?

Are science blogs facing extinction?

Author: Juliana Botelho, Pegasus Scientificus, Brazil

Co-authors: Adlane Vilas-Boas, Jennifer Metcalfe, Alicianne Gonçalves, Hauke Riesch, Jonathan Mendel

Since their first boom about ten years ago, science blogs were believed to offer new possibilities of writing about scientific issues for a lay audience. Seen either as open, democratic forum or a new mode of scientific writing and reading – more fluid, conversational, trustworthy and editorially independent in character – science blogs raised many expectations since their emergence.

Yet, many scholars argue that some of these expectations were rarely, if ever, met. And even if most scholarly reviews account for a diversity of science blogging initiatives, a number of them have come to the conclusion that these platforms have left behind the golden days.

In this panel participants are invited to question the survival of blogs, by bringing forth the following contributions:

  1. “Dialogues with science: what makes a blog last?”, by Juliana Botelho and Adlane Vilas-Boas. This work is an attempt to reflect on the challenges of both science blogging and blog evaluation, by examining a particular case study – a Brazilian blog called “Diálogos c/ Ciência”.
  2. “Climate change on the internet soapbox: Preaching to the converted”, by Jenni Metcalfe. This presentation will compare the comments from two prominent climate blogs in Australia: one from a climate sceptic and one from a supporter of anthropogenic-climate change.
  3. “A political and scientific issue: discourses about racial diversity in science blogs”, by Alicianne Gonçalves. This communication analyses the discourses employed on two Darwinist Brazilian blogs: “Darwin e Deus” and “Haeckeliano”.
  4. “Science communication and the internets: tricksters, trolls and rhizomes”, by Hauke Riesch and Jonathan Mendel. Large-scale online science communication projects often construct very ordered, controlled spaces for discussion. However, we draw on Deleuze and Guattari’s work to argue that this is rather dull compared to the pleasures of more rhizomatic, less centralised approaches to public engagement.