It’s been over a month–that’s about seven thousand blog years–since my PLoS ONE paper came out and I’m only just now getting around to giving it a proper blog treatment. In defense of my tardiness, the paper is pretty small-fry in terms of its newsworthiness. It didn’t even get a press release (though maybe that’s a good thing). In other words, it’s still fresh to the blogosphere. Well, that’s my excuse at least.
At first I wondered: is this normal? Blogging on one’s own peer-reviewed research, that is? But Bora Zivkovic (PLoS ONE Online Community Manager/crazy uncle of the science blogging community) and Liz Allen (PLoS Director of Marketing and Business Development) have made it clear that giving my own paper the BPR3 treatment is not only normal, it is expected.
There are several ways I might approach writing this post. The most obvious is to simply summarise the paper In Plain English. Problem is, I’ve already done that by writing a news blurb for the Natural History Museum website, and I don’t really feel like repeating myself (though of course I will, but only to the extent to which it is necessary to tell my story).
A second approach is to critically analyse the paper. But you can see the problem with that right away: since I wrote it, I’ve already critically analysed it. Critical analysis necessarily belongs to someone who isn’t an author on the paper.
A third approach, and the one I am going to go with, is to tell the whole story of this project: the blood, sweat and occasional tears, not just the part that appears in the paper itself. This will be by far more interesting than a simple recap of the key findings of the paper itself (which, as I said, you can get elsewhere). Moreover, the whole story illuminates the reality of the scientific process in a way that’s intelligible to the non-scientist; well, that’s my aim anyways.
A must-read post; link via Bora who recommends the methodology strongly.