I do not blog about my every day research. This is for a number of reasons but mainly because my blog is not the appropriate forum for the dissemination of my research process or results. I have students working on projects to generate preliminary data for grant applications, and working on their own projects. These may be final year project students, or graduate students. In all cases, the dissemination of those results and research methods will be at a time and in a manner of my choosing.
This seems initially contradictory because I’m still trying to figure out how to make all of my research data available, for failed and successful experiments and research pathways. Ultimately its a question of when – I don’t mind blind avenues or failed experiments being published online after I have decided that they are no longer worth pursuing in the short term. I do not want to see a blow by blow description of my groups research on the internet as it happens. And I never want to see such a description on a website out of my control (I’m turning into a control freak I think). I believe that science is best publicised (i.e. put into the public domain) after careful consideration and that generally occurs during the writing up stage, either for a project report, thesis or publication. When I think about what goes into research – time, stress, ideas etc, I’d like or would like my co-workers to have first crack at drawing conclusions from the data, not some know-it-all who read it first on a website.
I have no problem with writing about papers I read that I find interesting, whether they are directly related to a project in progress or not. Actually I think that’s a pretty decent way to engage with the literature and force oneself to take a critical and thoughtful look at the work. I’d just like those same powers of critique and thought turned to the research in hand rather than generating a blog post.
I’ve read some very good research group websites where all the researchers blog (and I think blog to an extent that they feel comfortable with) but I’m just not ready at this time to take that leap myself. [I think I’d also have issues with anyone giving a blow by blow description on twitter!]