Blogs are a great way to share your data with fellow academics

Most scientists communicate their research findings in formal settings.


Tealfeed Guest Blog

2 years ago | 2 min read

Most scientists communicate their research findings in formal settings.

Research articles and oral presentations are the most common forms of scientific communication, as these are the methods — imperfect as they may be — for scientists to advance their career and form networks. But scientists are increasingly finding value in communicating through less used formats such as blogging and social media.

In my academic career, I have had the pleasure of writing in several different formats, each of which required me to think about my target audience and my goals for the piece. Research articles are often specialized and require meticulous documentation of experiments and analysis, as well as attention to effective exposition and visualization.

A book chapter targets newcomers to a field and serves as a comprehensive compendium of published research on a relatively broad topic, compiled in a digested form. Article previews, on the other hand, are shorter and their primary purpose is to provide broader context, keeping in mind that scientists from different specialities are probably interested in this kind of piece. Posts in a science blog are intended to engage the most general audience.

A science blog can serve as a great platform for sharing data and ideas with other academics.

I recently created a science blog: My motivation has been for it to serve as a repository of analytical and computational methods I have used in my projects.

My target audience are other academics who are either unaware of these methods or have not yet found the time to invest in learning them.

My goal is to document my thoughts on these methods through the spirit of openly communicating science, to share scientific contributions that are not ready for formal submission and to gain visibility that may potentially lead to interesting collaborations.

For example, I wrote a series of two blog posts about linear models, tools I routinely use in my research, in which I covered both the theory (1) and provided examples through a simulation study (2).

In these two blog posts I presented a series of increasingly more general models, ranging from the commonly used ANOVA to generalized linear mixed-effects models, in a way that their relationship as part of a general analytical framework becomes apparent. In the process, I discussed common sticking points such as the normality assumption, model comparison, and the importance of fitting a model that accommodates the natural structure of the data.

Finally, because writing for my blog allows me to have full editorial control, I have been able to explore different formats and modes of user engagement. I could add simple features such as interactive plots or I could convert the whole blog into a fully open platform of reproducible content where anyone interested can access the source code and data that was used to create all of the blog’s content. I have found that playing with code is the best way to learn about new analytical methods.

I aspire to see scientific publishing transform into a process that resembles blogging combined with open source practices. And I hope that my experiment with inspires the creation of platforms that enable better ways to share our research beyond traditional articles.

This article was originally published by Anahita Vieira, PhD on medium.
"Written by: Vassilis Kehayas, PhD for Neurocrew" It was written by a former Neurocrew member.


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