29 October 2007

Blogging on peer-reviewed research

One of my main goals in this blog is to help non-scientists (Christian readers in particular) understand science and God's world, by reviewing and explaining recently-published scientific research. I've been calling these posts "Journal Clubs" in honor of the kind of small-group discussion of the literature that formed the backbone of my scientific education (past and present).

It takes a lot more effort to prepare one of those articles than it does to post a link to the latest gaffe by a creationist or a racist Nobel laureate, and I've often wished I could make my Journal Club entries stand out more. It turns out, not surprisingly, that plenty of other science bloggers (and/or blogging scientists) have had the same desire. Happily, some of them actually did something about it, resulting in the creation of Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting, now incarnated at BPR3.org.

You can read all about it on Cognitive Daily over at ScienceBlogs; one of the bloggers there, Dave Munger, is spearheading the BPR3 effort.

So, I'm joining this excellent movement. From now on, I'll mark my Journal Clubs with the official icon. This will enable readers to identify the serious science, and the posts will find their way into a collection at BPR3 through an aggregator. Just as importantly, I think, the icon commits me to a set of standards, which includes:

  1. The post should offer a complete formal citation of the work(s) being discussed.
  2. The post author should have read and understood the entire work cited.
  3. The blog post should report accurately and thoughtfully on the research it presents.
  4. Where possible, the post should link to the original source and / or provide a DOI or other universal reference number.
  5. The post should contain original work by the post author -- while some quoting of others is acceptable, the majority of the post should be the author's own work.
And this is cool and important: abuse can be reported, and repeated misconduct gets your work kicked out of the aggregator. Nice.

So look for the just-unveiled icon of BPR3 on my Journal Club articles henceforth, and thanks for shopping at Quintessence of Dust.

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