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Updates

OK, so I haven’t finished my posts about Darwin’s Dilemma.  Can’t promise that I will.  But it really doesn’t do any good to not blog because I feel like I shouldn’t until I finish what’s pending.  After all, the best way to ensure that the posts never get finished is to not blog at all.

That said, it isn’t like I have a whole lot to blog about right now.  Berry Go Round #24 is up at Phylophactor.  Another thing I’ve neglected.  It’s interesting to look at the blogs that have contributed those posts.  Most of them are new to me.  Two years ago, when BGR began, I knew most of the blogs – and got to know many of the bloggers – whose work graced that blog carnival.  Now, I don’t.  Makes you think about the half-life of a blog.  People contribute for a while, and then fall out of the habit.  Some people keep going – Luigi and Jeremy of the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog keep at it.  And we are very fortunate that they do…

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Dusting this thing off…

I don’t remember where I read it, but I have always been fascinated by the idea of a writer as “someone who has written today“.  In a sense it’s even more true for a blogger – if you haven’t written today, if you’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging, you can’t really call yourself a blogger.  And no matter how bad or good your work, as long as you’re writing every day, as long as you feel the compulsion to blog, you are a blogger.  Even if no one reads a word you write.

Most people who start a blog never become bloggers.  They write once, or maybe a few times, and then abandon the exercise.  Those who catch the bug tend to keep at it for a while, but sooner or later their posts thin out and eventually they realise that they are “ex-bloggers”.   As an ex-blogger, I find myself wondering about two things – what makes people stop, and is it possible to become a true blogger once again?

Some people say they stop because they don’t have the time, but for me that seems like more of an excuse than a reason.  There’s also a sense of losing the urge to write.  But more than that, I wonder if there’s a sense of growing expectations.  When I stopped blogging, I didn’t stop wanting to blog.  I didn’t stop thinking about things that might become good ideas.  I didn’t even stop writing things.  I just stopped finishing them.  It just seemed like the things I wrote weren’t “good enough”.  And the longer you’ve been gone, the more you think you need to return with a bang.

Well, I haven’t returned with a bang.  I can’t say whether I’ve returned at all.  But I’ve volunteered to host the nest Berry-Go-Round.  And now, I think, is as good a time as any to try my hand at writing again.

Top 100 Botany Blogs

Online College Blogs has posted a list of the Top 100 Botany Blogs.  It looks like a great source of stuff to read.  I also managed to get mentioned, which is pretty cool.

PLoS ONE Synchroblogging contest

In a world of ever-increasing journal subscription prices, there’s a real need for an alternative model.  Pricer journal subscriptions have led libraries to narrow the range of journals to which they subscribe.  Much of the scientific literature is out of reach for institutions in poorer countries.  Researchers working in these settings are less able to place their research in the context of modern research, which reduces their chance of having their work published.  While some professional societies have tried to keep their subscription costs down, open-access publishing is becoming more attractive.  Yesterday I blogged about OpenJ-Gate, a portal that provides access to a vast assortment of open-access journals. PLoS ONE is an “interactive open-access journal for the communication of all peer-reviewed scientific and medical research”.  It combines open-access publishing with rapid publication.  And then encourages readers to provide feedback.  Bora Zvikovic, who blogs at A Blog Around the Clock is the PLoS ONE Community Manager.

This month, PLoS ONE will be celebrating its second birthday.  In honour of that event, they are having a Synchroblogging Competition in collaboration with ResearchBlogging.org.  In order to join in the fun (and maybe win some PLoS ONE swag) all you have to do is (a) register your blog with ResearchBlogging, and (b) on December 18, publish a blog post about one of the almsot 4,000 papers at PLoS ONE.  Pretty simple?  Of course, the post has to meet the standards of ResearcBlogging (read the paper and understand it, provide some serious commentary on the article).  Bora has some more information here, and the official rules are here.

The biggest challenge, as I see it, is narrowing down what to write about.  PLoS ONE has 335 ecology articles, and 115 plant biology artices (some of which, I presume, are not about Arabidopsis), so there’s lots of interesting stuff to sort through.  There’s also lots of papers about minor fields like biochemistry, infectious disease, and other topics that somehow fall outside of the intersection of plant biology and ecology…

The best of science blogging

The submission deadline for the Open Laboratory 2008 science bloggin anthology has passed, and Bora has posted a complete list of the submissions.  Five hundred (or so) of the best science blog posts of the last year.  As Laurent described it, “it’s like a Carnival”.  It’s also a good place to go and update your RSS reader.

Falling out of the habit

Years ago I came across the statement “a writer is someone who has written today”.  I must admit, I had no idea what that statement meant. When I was working on my dissertation I got the advice “write something every day”.  Why?, I wondered.

After blogging for about a year, I abruptly fell out of the habit.  And having stopped, it’s almost impossible to bring yourself to re-start.  Either you’re a writer, or you aren’t.  Either you’re a blogger, or you aren’t.  Right now, I am not.  I keep having great ideas to write about, but never when I’m sitting at the computer.  I come here, I open a writing window, and either I have nothing to write, or I fail to craft something coherent.

So how do you get back into the habit of blogging?  Not by returning at full speed, that’s for sure.  Will it take this time?  I don’t know…

Belated first Blogversary

I missed the first anniversary of this blog (I imported an older blog, so the archives actually go back to 2004, but I started here on April 24, 2007.

Missing your own blog’s birthday. Talk about pathetic. 🙂