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Geobloggers: submit posts to Research Blogging website

January 21, 2008

The folks from have launched their new site, called, which collects all the posts our there in science blog land that have been tagged as “blogging on peer-reviewed research”. You know, that little icon with the green checkmark people have been using the last few months.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check this site out and then come back and read this.

I signed up and it was a relatively straightforward process to get my latest post about peer-reviewed research up there. The site also automatically creates a citation and link to the paper you are blogging about. You simply enter the DOI (or other info if you don’t have that) and it shows up there. I think this is great. Firstly, the reader can click on that right away to get the paper…that’s just plain and simple convenience. Secondly, it keeps posts out that aren’t really about a real paper. Most science blogs (including me) have other posts not really about any particular research paper. This is a great filter. I simply don’t have the time to sift through the hundreds or thousands of science-related posts per day to find good comments about a recent study, especially if it’s out of my field.

In addition, I like the layout and look of the site … it is very simple and effective. Here is a screenshot of what it looks like.


Like a regular feed, it has the post title and a snippet of text. But, then it has the citation and a link for the paper you are discussing.

What I’m getting at here is … sign up!!! The geosciences will be weak and under-represented unless we can get a posse together to put together quality posts about research topics.


26 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2008 10:46 am

    Hey, thanks for the good words about, and for encouraging others to sign up. We’ve got about 50 blogs signed up already, and the more blogs we include the better!

  2. January 21, 2008 10:49 am

    Thanks for putting this together … the fact that a link to the paper is right there is FANTASTIC! Very simple, and great, idea.

  3. January 21, 2008 1:01 pm

    Now what we need is a site that will allow us to aggregate our thoughtless, flippant posts on peer-reviewed research.

  4. January 21, 2008 1:20 pm

    I’ve signed up, but I’m at least two steps short of being willing to endorse

    First off, why have categories for Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Astronomy, etc. but not “Geology”? Yes, Earth/Environmental is probably meant to cover this ground, but what about the term “Geology” does not encompass Earth and the Environment? Seems like a minor slight, but I think it ought to be a serious issue of branding. This is part of why Geology is not treated as an equal to Chemistry or Physics and doesn’t get taught in most high schools. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

    Second, their RSS feed for the above mentioned category doesn’t work, rendering useless the most important tool they could offer for aggregating research blogging on geology.

    I have other thoughts, but I’d like to see these two addressed first.

  5. January 21, 2008 1:38 pm

    Ron … I agree on the Earth/Environmental … those are typically the categories that non-earth scientists come up with as the most “inclusive”. But, they also have “anthropology” as a distinct category, which is pretty specific, so the levels don’t quite line up.

    Personally, I think Earth Science and Environmental Science could be two separate categories. And under Earth Science would be Geology, Climatology/Paleoclimatology, Physical Oceanography, Paleobiology/Paleontology, and so on, and so on.

    The act of categorizing science is an exercise in and of itself. The outline form (with general subjects opening into more specific) sometimes work, but as we appreciate the interconnectedness of disciplines, what do we do? I’ve been thinking about this for a while … it almost seems a “tagging” system would be better. But, the same problem remains on what to call the tags.

    But, Ron, problems labeling notwithstanding I think this is a good start. We all write posts that aren’t “hard science”, so it’s nice to have a filter to cut through the fluff, so to speak. I only have so much time to read blogs, I look forward to having something to browse that isn’t politics, science and society, intelligent design, climate skeptics, etc. (not that blogging about those aren’t important).

    You’re right … the feed doesn’t work for me either.

  6. January 21, 2008 1:55 pm

    What do you think of ScienceCentric’s top-level topics?

  7. January 21, 2008 2:26 pm

    @BrianR: ScienceCentric’s are better, but again I’d like to see Geology as a standalone for branding reasons. In my mind Paleontology falls within the realm of geology by default and biology in a secondary manner, though I suppose that’d depend on the emphasis of the article.

    I tend to take a broad view of the term Geology in these sorts of discussions; one that encompasses many Earth (and planetary) processes. I fondly recall one of my undergrad professors describing geology as being all about “understanding how planets work”. I really don’t see any value to other terms, such as “Earth Systems Science”, that are offered as “better” but essentially synonymous terms. Call me a lumper if you want (as opposed to a splitter), but in my mind Geology is on a par with Physics (encompassing most astronomy), Chemistry, and Biology as the four pillars of the Natural Sciences.

  8. January 21, 2008 2:29 pm

    P.S. None of this is to detract from what is trying to do. I think their overall goal is laudable.

  9. January 21, 2008 5:45 pm

    Ron, the obvious solution is to sign up and flood them with so many dry, esoteric hard-rock geology posts that the climatologists and ecologists demand that we get stuck in our own category.

  10. January 21, 2008 5:49 pm

    Lab Lemming, that’s right. If there are only 2 geology posts amongst all the bio stuff, then a separate “geology” category is unlikely.

  11. January 22, 2008 12:31 am

    Thanks for pointing to the site, Brian. It looks interesting. Now if only I could get my act together and actually post on some geology topics… (I have a couple of posts brewing in my head). I also must say I agree with Ron. WTF is this “earth systems science” and “earth and environmental science” terms about? What is wrong with the term geology, which is also consider a broad term encompassing many different subdisciplines. I also agree that palaeontology is unquestionably a subdiscipline under geology.

  12. January 22, 2008 12:32 am

    Whatever you call it, I suspect that more geologically oriented posts will be pretty well represented under ‘Earth and Environmental Sciences’ category, which is only to the good for directing people our way. I suspect that the general public’s perception of what geology covers is possibly a little narrower than our own understanding.

    Anyway, I’ve signed up.

  13. January 22, 2008 11:09 am

    I think this is an interesting discussion … maybe it deserves it’s own thread.

    As Ron says, if we have Physics, Chemistry, Geology, and Biology has the four “pillars” where does atmospheric science, for example, go? Or hydrology (not hydrogeology) or oceanography? And so on.

    There are many disciplines that study the Earth’s modern processes that I don’t think necessarily fall under geology. Unless, of course, they are engaged in historical investigation…paleoclimate, or paleoceanography, etc.

    Is studying clouds geology?

    Is “Earth science” or “Geoscience” the best choice? I agree that inserting the word ‘systems’ in there is superfluous.

    The problem, which is also a virtue, is that geology intersects with so many other disciplines.

    But, as stated above, either way we should all start writing posts about current research in geology … show everybody how active the science is. New papers come out all the time with exciting stuff.

  14. January 22, 2008 1:07 pm

    To answer your question:

    “There are many disciplines that study the Earth’s modern processes that I don’t think necessarily fall under geology. Unless, of course, they are engaged in historical investigation…paleoclimate, or paleoceanography, etc.

    Is studying clouds geology?”

    No. I’d say that most of the Earth’s modern processes fall under physical geography. It doesn’t mean that sedimentologists shouldn’t study grain movement or coastal geomorphology, it just means that when they do so, they are applying methods from physical geography. Geology, IMHO, is taking this knowledge and applying it to the past.

    Many geologists work at the intersection between fields. Physical geography/geology is just one. Mineralogy/chemistry and palaeontology/ biology are others that come to mind. I think it should be that way, but I also think we all benefit from having a general idea of what geology is.

    Let me, as an example, talk about a geology department I know fairly well, and which shall not be mentioned by name. It had until recently no geologists on faculty, only physical geographers and the physical geographers didn’t see how this could be a problem. They taught earth science from the physical geography side of the equation, but while that is worthwhile and exciting science it is not geology and students simply didn’t get what they came for. Geology in my opinion is about a view of time and space that is beyond the present.

  15. January 22, 2008 1:16 pm

    saxifraga … thanks for your input …

    What does this mean for trying to come up with categories (that span all sciences) for blog posts about peer-reviewed research?

    Should “Geology” and “Physical Geography” be two separate topics?

  16. January 22, 2008 5:26 pm

    Computer illiterate question:
    How, exactly, do we sign up for this thing?
    (continue semantic debate below, please)

  17. January 23, 2008 1:26 am

    Lemming – fill out the form here.

    I’ve never felt that geology is fundamental in the sense of physics of chemistry – it’s a different sort of subject, where the experimental tools used are less important than the overall goal – working out “how planets work”.

    But in the case of a portal aimed more at the public, I have to say: if people clicking on Earth/Environmental in search of climate stuff are exposed to posts discussing sedimentology, or tectonics, and if even a few of them are tempted to click through, I’m not going to complain. There are risks to excessive subcategorisation.

  18. January 23, 2008 10:01 am

    Great discussion going on here. It’s difficult to come up with a categorization system that works for everyone. We’re actually already working on v. 2.0 of the system, which will be an entirely different platform (but with the same underlying data). This system should be more robust, with two levels of categories, and the second level will be user-definable. We’ll choose the primary categories based on the actual registrations for

    In short, if a lot of geologists register, then geology will be a primary category in v. 2.0.

  19. January 23, 2008 10:08 am

    Dave … thanks for chiming in on our discussion. I appreciate it.

    Did ya hear that everybody? Get writing … :)

  20. January 28, 2008 3:21 pm

    Hey everyone. I’m Zach, the programmer for Thought I’d drop by to say that the RSS feed is now functioning. That was the single-most requested feature immediately after release. There are still some cosmetic issues related to the feed (mostly encoding artifacts) but it appears to be working well.

    Thanks again to everyone participating!

  21. January 28, 2008 3:24 pm

    Zach…thanks for the note…I’m sure many of us will subscribe right away.

  22. February 7, 2008 12:39 pm

    So I tried registering and posting a paper review, but it doesn’t seem to have picked up. Or acknowledged my registration. What is the difference between a blog url and a feed url anyway? I’m starting to think that this is looking like a IT guru only type thingo…

  23. March 15, 2008 4:36 am

    Zachary Tong

    Also thanks from me! Ifeel I’ll subscribe right now.

    Cheryl Bollinger
    CEO of Research Papers Production Inc.


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