Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Support good science writing - pay for it

A quick one here since I think there is not much complication to this issue.  As many know - I am a big big advocate of "open access" to the scientific literature.  I think if the taxpayers / government pay for research (and pays for salaries/indirect costs/etc that go into publishing) then the results of that research (data, papers, software) should be available freely and openly.  I think it is also better if ANY scientific writing could be freely and openly available (e.g., research paid by private funds).

However, this does not mean that one should not pay for writing about science.  I think we as a society need to support good science writing and reporting.  I subscribe to the New York Times - party partly for access to the science writing (not all of which I like but some of which is phenomenal).  I subscribe to Wired.  I donate (occasionally) to blogs.  I subscribe to Scientific American.  I buy good science books (sometimes many copies and then give them out - like I did with Rebecca Skloot's HeLa book which).

So I call on people out there - whether you support Open Access to government funded work or not - pay for some good science writing.  Buy a book.  Subscribe to a magazine.  Donate to a blog.  Do something to support those who enrich our lives.  Science writers need to earn a living after all ...


  1. Dr. Eisen,
    I am a big fan of your blog and I am very appreciative of the work that you do. I am, however, disappointed in this particular post because it has to blatant spelling/editing/something errors!

    "Rebecca Skloot's HeLa book which"
    "party for access"

    I would also like to party for access to a book which.

    Any advice for someone who has an MS degree, an enthusiasm for microbial ecology, no job, and a thought to begin freelance science-writing?

  2. the perils of writing with two kids and a cat playing on you ... spelling sometimes gets lost in the shuffle

  3. Maat

    As for suggestions for freelancing -- I don't know -- as I have never done it --- but I would suggest getting some of your writing out there --- blogging --- or commenting on others blogs --- and then emailing/talking to some freelancers and ask how they got started ...


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