Innovative science blogging

The first association many of us may have with marine biologists (stereotype alert) is that they only do it to get paid beach holidays in exotic locations, but at April's Guardian Science Communication Masterclass* I met Tom Evans, who is using his blog in an innovative way to get across what's new and interesting in his field. He is hosting a regular hot marine biology news award.

The traditional approach, used by both science bloggers and the likes of Physics World is to do a regular roundup of interesting science stories. This is fine, but hardly original. Tom is essentially doing the same in his Beneath the Waves offering, but as well as giving edited highlights of what's interesting from the past fortnight, he gives readers the opportunity to vote for the (entirely nominal) Beneath the Waves Award. It's not a big change, but somehow it makes the whole thing significantly more engaging.

Of course all the research is valuable, and there is the argument that such an approach could trivialise the work, but I think if it's taken as a bit of fun that, apart from anything else, gives the reader an incentive to look at all the topics not just the ones of immediate interest, it gives the blog an interesting edge.

There are many ways to communicate science, and blogging is already a relatively innovative and flexible one. But this additional detail, for me, makes Tom Evans' approach a winner.

* The Science Communication Masterclass proved so popular it is being run again in July. Details here