Academics are very busy people. Among other things, they must teach, mark, publish, and network. Despite all that work, we still suggest that you maintain a science blog. It can help you build your career, secure research grants, find collaborators all over the world, and get ideas for new research.
Cross disciplinary collaboration
Professors traditionally publish in academic journals. This is an effective way for your peers to review your work and to read a very technical explanation of your research. Unfortunately, that audience is extremely targeted.
Since inter-disciplinary collaboration is the most effective to identify and solve problems in an ever complex world, your ideas should be exposed as widely as possible. Having a blog reveals your work to researchers who would otherwise never know about it. If they find that there is a link to theirs, they will be able to propose a joint paper.
Such a cross disciplinary paper, by its very nature, will be more likely to break exciting new ground, receive more citations and benefit from more exposure.
When looking for new ideas or experts, the first tool that journalists use is Google, not scientific journals or books. Having an active blog will bring down your research from the ivory tower of academia to the public, allowing you to be a subject expert. Such a reputation will give you access to more opportunities for book deals, career promotions, and research grants for public agencies, foundations and the private sector.
By having to explain your research in laymen’s terms, maintaining a science blog forces you to see your research from a different perspective. It also hones your writing skills by making your message simpler and more engaging. This will inadvertently help you when writing academic papers by not only approaching from a unique angle, but also by expressing yourself in a much clearer way.
Having a blog will also let you informally pitch and receive feedback on new research ideas, in a low pressure environment. The comments received from your readers will reveal where to take your research and the flaws in your thinking.
Do not limit yourself strictly to your research
To get the full benefit of blogging, including attracting new collaborators, increased exposure in the media and finding new research ideas, do not limit your blog to your own research. We strongly encourage you to have short blog posts about miscellaneous science news.
Blogging is a good way to systematically analyze complex ideas. By expanding your blog, you will have an informed opinion on a wide range of topics, contributing to personal growth. Your reader will also want your views on a variety of topics. Just make sure that it is well researched and acknowledge that you are not an expert in everything under the sun.