Naomi Hirsch of the OSU-based Superfund Research Center has pulled together a terrific set of Web and Emerging Technology Resources for Scientists. Bookmark it!


Scientist at Work is a New York Times group blog, showcasing the writing of scientists from many disciplines. The Times  calls it “… the modern version of a field journal, a place for reports on the daily progress of scientific expeditions — adventures, misadventures, discoveries.”

Reports range from the lyrical writing of Mary E. Blair, a postdoc at the American Musem of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, as she strives to understand the life history and genetic diversity of the slow loris, to Jeff Opperman, a senior freshwater scientist with the Nature Conservancy, describing his once-in-a-lifetime trip down Southeast Asia’s Mekong River with his wife and two children, ages 8 and 10.

Well worth reading and following if you’re looking for examples of how scientists can use blog to lend their personal voices to the work they do, and to express the sense of gee-whiz wonder that can come with the practice of science.

OSU ScienceOnline Watch PartyThings that struck us (notes on group discussion):

  • Conference is full of people whose job it is to rewrite science and translate it to the public. (Speaker does the same thing but over the phone, one on one). Why don’t we have that?
  • We do! OSU News & Research Communications - talk to them if you have a story to tell, or scientists who should be in their experts pool!
  • Streaming information into airport tv channels – clever idea for getting messages to the public


  • How about streaming webcams? (Talk to Raul Buriel)
  • Videographers are available via OSU Web Communications: Talk to Justin Smith
  • Researchers need to have up-to-date Websites if they want the public (including other scientists) to find them. Contact David Baker at Web Communications to find out what they can do to help bring your old, dead site up to date, or build a new one for your lab.
  • Get a YouTube account- put up short videos about your work and science. Or media Space
  • What kinds of events would make good places to talk science?
    • Festivals – not just science festivals, but art festivals, community festivals, etc. Get people used to seeing & talking to scientists in their communities.
    • Farmers markets and food fairs
  • Communicating risks: We have people who work with heavy metals, food contamination, radiation, etc. But how do you talk to people about risk without freaking them out? Suggestion: Google “communicating risk” to find a whole bunch of documents & guidelines already being used by those who communicate risk for education & government.  Steal their ideas.
  • Dealing with the media: How do you get them to get it right?
    • Hone your message to its core – what one or two things do you absolutely want people to know? Get used to talking about it in brief, without compromising accuracy. On TVnews, you maty only get one sentence. Practice with five-year-olds.
    • It’s OK to ask if you can review what journalists write about your science – just limit your critique to the science, not the writing. And be aware that some media institutions don’t allow review of anything prior to publication.
    • Statesman reporter: Giving feedback to journalists afterward is good. If they miss something, suggest followup ideas.
    • Good thing about working with news & science bloggers: If they get something wrong, they can correct it!
  • What we’d tell others at OSU about public engagement & communication based on this morning’s session & our own experience:
    • Try new stuff until you find your fit.
    • Look for new venues (don’t preach to the choir?)
    • Get outside  your own narrow field and see what others are doing
    • Find the time to make your presence felt – keep your website updated, bloh or tweet regularly, etc.
    • Major funding agencies are requiring engagement and outreach components, and that’s starting to be reflected in promotion & tenure practices.
    • Naomi Hirsh has a powerpoint telling scientis why they have to be engaged online. (Naomi, can you share it with this group?)
  • What  else should we do to stay engaged beyond our narrow fields:
    • Read science blogs & other online science journalism (See sidebar on this blog for some good ones).
    • Join and attend the OSU Social Media group (Contact Alan Calvert)
    • Visit to see what your colleagues are doing with blogs – good and bad.