Why you, young scientist, should have a web presence

Three good reasons why you should be writing something, somewhere on the Web:

  1. Egalitarianism
  2. I hadn’t thought much about this aspect until a conversation with Roland at ISMB. Put simply, the Web democratises the science career ladder. It doesn’t matter if you’re an Honours student or a tenured professor; if you have good ideas and can articulate them, you can bring them to the attention of others and build a community around them. Previously, you would have had to wait until the stage of your career where you’re invited to give keynote addresses – and who has the time for that, these days?

  3. Connecting with the right people
  4. Ideally, we would all work in dynamic, stimulating environments, surrounded by talented, like-minded individuals keen to bounce ideas off each other. In practice – well, you know. No matter, because the Web allows you to find people on your wavelength, with whom you can interact. Increasingly, we’re seeing great examples of scientific collaboration established in this way. The process isn’t limited to science of course; Goth kids in small country towns find a friendly support network in just the same way.

  5. The big picture
  6. It’s all too easy in research to become obsessed with the minutiae and the day-to-day trials. It’s also easy to avoid writing until the time comes to publish a paper or apply for a grant. Writing something regularly on the Web can maintain writing skills, force you to assess critically your goals and progress and provide timely reminders about “the big picture”.

Those are my top 3 reasons: add yours in the comments (here or at FriendFeed).

Stem cells and science blogs

We all know the Seed Group ScienceBlogs, but there are other, similar collections out there.

Correlations is the WIRED Science blog, featuring articles by several prominent science bloggers. I was interested to see Clifford from Asymptotia turning his hand to biology in a very good article on the much-reported recent breakthrough in stem cell research.

This news is also featured over at Scientific Blogging. I received an email from them recently (rather generic, it referred to my “site(s)” and I imagine my other blogging friends got the same invite), asking if I would be interested in the role of biology feature writer. I don’t really have the time or the inclination to write those longer, essay-style science journalism posts at which others are very good, but check out their site if you’re interested.