— digitalgrip.fieldnotes


I backed this open science project on RocketHub:

I am really curious, if and how crowdfunding science (or science communication) will work. This definitely looks like a good start:

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Wolfgang Blau, Chefredakteur von ZEIT ONLINE, über “Online partizipieren, online arbeiten – Demokratie und Staat, Wirtschaft und Arbeit in der digitalen Welt” (2011):


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Für science- und science fiction-Freunde ist io9 praktisch ein Grundnahrungsmittel. Nun gibt es neben den täglichen Neuigkeiten aus “science, science fiction und der Zukunft” auch ein wöchentliches io9-Video-Magazin:

We’ve decided to come out of our safe little internet boxes and emerge into the world of digital video technology (…). Every week we’ll have 10-15 minutes of science, culture, and crazy futurism — plus, science experiments, interviews, and cheerful predictions of global doom!

Inklusive “stars are made of pickled vegetables”.


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When I was at Science Online 2012 earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview Ivan Oransky of Retraction Watch and Embargo Watch. When I tweeted about transcribing the interview as part of the preparations for this article in Spektrum, some people asked if they could read the transcript. After Ivan kindly agreed, I can now say: Yes, you can.

Just a note in advance, though: It’s a transcript (minus some off-topic remarks and outside distractions…), not an edited interview, so it may meander a bit here and there. We talked about blogging and the role of journalism, specifically science journalism, about potential business models and a retraction mystery novel, about science as a human endeavor and a developing culture of error reporting online, about commenters and German readers, about dialogue and the role of humor – and much more. I immensely enjoyed listening to the kind and generous innovator I found in Ivan, and I hope you do, too.

So without further ado – the interview:

K: What motivated you to start Embargo Watch and later Retraction Watch?

IO: It was actually this conference that inspired me to start these blogs. I have been here every year, this is the sixth year, and I wouldn’t miss it. Because it’s just a wonderful group of people and you learn so much. And it’s just such a supportive goup and we can all criticize each other’s work in an incredibly constructive way, without it ever being a personal issue. You can even criticize speakers while they are speaking, on Twitter, and people will respond and we all are the better for it at the end of it.

On the subject matter, though: I had always thought a lot about embargoes. This goes back years. When I was at The Scientist, I wrote a few blogposts for the Scientist-Blog, about a couple of situations. And there is a book by Vincent Kiernan called „Embargoed Science“. It’s his thesis. He was a reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education for many years and then went back to get a PhD in communications or science communication. And his thesis was about embargoes and what effect they have on science and science communication, in particular journalism. So he eventually published that thesis as a book and I always followed his work, I thought very highly of it. And then there were some incidents with WHO, the World Health Organization, the New York Times, the New England Journal of Medicine had something else that happened with embargoes, so I would always write little items about it, you know, think about it a little bit, used the „Ingelfinger Rule“, it’s a fun word to use…

The nice thing about blogging is that it can give voice and a regular rhythm to your obsessions, right? And embargoes really are one of my obsessions…

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Aus Protest gegen mögliche neue Copyright-Gesetzgebung in den USA bleibt heute die englische Wikipedia-Seite schwarz. Mehr Informationen zu SOPA, PIPA und dem Blackout gibt es hier.

Und auch Google und Wired protestieren. Mehr zu ACTA, dem EU-Pendant zu den amerikanischen Gesetzes-Initiativen, gibt es außerdem bei der Zeit.



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About The Open Notebook:

The Open Notebook is a non-profit organization that provides unique tools and resources to help science journalists at all experience levels hone their craft.

Evan Ratliff, founder and editor of The Atavist […] writes: “The best way to learn about journalistic storytelling — besides writing stories — is by taking great narratives apart. The Open Notebook goes a step further, taking us back to the pitch letter, the assignment, and everything it took to get a big piece landed. The focus may be on science, but the lessons found here can be applied to any story.”

Zu Science Online 2012 kommt Jeanne Erdmann, eine der Redakteurinnen. Neben TON arbeitet als freelance Medizinjournalistin und bloggt auf Repetitive Stress: A Blog about Coping with Caregiving.

The Open Notebook is also worth following at @Open_Notebook

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John Pavlus is a filmmaker and science writer, and I very much like this description on his production company Small Mammal’s  site:

Video on the web is fundamentally different than television and film, but cookie-cutter formats and half-baked mashups aren’t enough to engage smart viewers. Small Mammal understands what works on the web, and designs each project “from the idea up” to find the best match of subject and style — regardless of budget.

John blogs, too, and tweets at @johnpavlus

Here is one of his films, but do check out his site – there is much more to discover!

I, for one, strongly sympathize with his concept of ‘process value’ (including his contempt for “weightless, meaningless CGI wankfests”!).


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Brooke Gladstone is host of NPR’s On the Media and has now written a beautiful and very informative piece of graphic non-fiction. It’s called The Influencing Machine and although the book is about media and journalism as a whole, it makes some interesting points about science journalism, too. In her chapter about bias, for example, Gladstone explains how science coverage is often riddled by narrative bias [the (perceived) need of beginning, middle and end in each and every story]. And the Scientific American classic of April Fools Day in 2005 on “so-called evolution” gets a full page appearance, too.
Plus: On her way through the history of the media and its discontents Gladstone does quite a bit of (graphic) science reporting herself (on polls, on the neuroscience of free will, on cognitive dissonance etc.).
It is amazing how much information can go into a comic book!

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media on Vimeo on Vimeo


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Science blogging at its best: excellent discussion today at David Kroll’s Take as Directed about fact checking for sci/med stories:


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