Technology & Learning has a recent story about “Professors who blog“. They make the point that many profs who blog view it as part of their “service” component in the form of outreach*. Their research is instead published in peer-reviewed journals, books, conference proceedings, and other traditional media. As readers know, this is also how I see the role of blogs by scientists. Blogs are no substitute for peer reviewed publications, but they are a useful medium in which to discuss science from various perspectives and to make the information more accessible to non-scientists around the globe. I suspect that, in time, more scientists will come to see the value of blogs as an outreach apparatus and will make time for them despite being chronically overcommitted.
[Hat tip: Pharyngula]
* Most science faculty have three components to their jobs. Research, teaching, and service, often distributed at 40 : 40 : 20 (though this varies). Students sometimes are unaware that teaching a given class may represent only 10-20% of a professor’s job description (though it invariably takes up much more time than this, especially if he or she strives to be an effective educator). Something to consider next time you feel the prof isn’t giving you enough personal attention or doesn’t respond to your emails fast enough. :-)