Subscribe to ScienceWriters magazine

ScienceWriters magazine

Writers named AAAS fellows

Paula Apsell, Beryl Lieff Benderly, Linda Billings, Deborah Blum, James Cornell, and Jeff Grabmeier have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). All are members of Section Y (General Interest in Science and Engineering). They will receive formal recognition of this honor at a ceremony during the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego, Feb. 18-22.

Explaining research

Explaining Research (Oxford University Press, 2010), began its eccentric evolution as a modest booklet-sized manuscript that I planned to self-publish; but ended up as a 368-page book produced by a major academic publisher. The tale of that evolution, I think, offers useful lessons for authors who face a daunting new era of self-publishing technology and an economically depressed publishing industry.

Mosaic Magazine archive

Now available online is the Mosaic Magazine Archive, consisting of articles, published from 1970 to 1992, in the National Science Foundation's flagship magazine. Material is searchable by issue, topic, and author.

Five atrocious science cliches

A black hole is the perfect place for stuff you never want to see again. So Wired Science is joining Wired.com's extended black hole party by chucking in some of the worst, most overused science cliches.

Access to federal scientists

On his first day in office in January, President Barack Obama went to work for science writers as he issued a directive on transparency and access to government information. The new president issued an Executive Memo on "Openness and Transparency," reversing a Bush-era rule that favored secrecy over disclosure for requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The mid-career job market

Carey Goldberg knew the Boston Globe was in a full-blown financial crisis. Still, she was shocked when told in March that she had been laid off along with the rest of the Globe's part-timers. Effective immediately. No severance pay. Please schedule a time with security to collect your things.

Innovations in journalism

Journalists — science writers, especially — are accustomed to reporting on innovation. Now many are living it. Today's tumult is forcing our profession to reexamine what we're really about and realizing our roles in society. Just as musicians were not about LPs or cassette tapes, we are not about printed-on-paper publications, many of which are being undermined by accelerating losses of ad and subscription revenue to often-free Internet alternatives.

Merck published fake journal

Merck paid an undisclosed sum to Elsevier to produce several volumes of a publication that had the look of a peer-reviewed medical journal, but contained only reprinted or summarized articles — most of which presented favorable to Merck products — that appeared to act solely as marketing tools with no disclosure of company sponsorship.

E-books piracy and potential

In the very near future, many of you will either write original e-books or have one of your print books' e-rights exploited by a publisher. An e-book is an electronic version of a traditional print book that can be read by using a personal computer, an e-book reader, and, now, even an iPhone. I have mixed emotions about e-books.

To tweet or not to tweet

Should live tweeting and blogging from scientific meetings be controlled? Back in May, Daniel MacArthur — a researcher and blogger — wrote a number of on-the-spot blogs on the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Biology of Genomes meeting. By all accounts a number of people were tweeting and blogging from the meeting. But Daniel had the misfortune to come under scrutiny from Genomeweb — a web-based news service — because of his actions.