Thanks to some gentle, skilled persuasion by Bora Zivkovic (a man I would advise you to avoid as a poker opponent), I have just assumed the mantle of Editor of The Open Laboratory 2008. As many of you know, Open Lab, now in its third year, is an anthology highlighting the best science blog entries of the year. Famously, the entire shebang is assembled and published by hardworking volunteers in only a few weeks over Christmas and New Year, and proceeds go to support the annual Science Blogging Conference that occurs every January. The last two years the book was published print-on-demand via Lulu.com (urbanely edited by Bora along with guest editor Reed Cartwright). You can buy the most recent book over at Lulu, which contains a number of specimens from Nature Network denizens, and which was recently reviewed by that well-known rag, Nature.)
It’s never too soon to start thinking about seeing your name in lights, or those of your blogging friends, so feel free to begin nominating! You can nominate as many entries as you’d like, written by you or others and starting from 21 December 2007, by making use of this form.
As someone interested in the culture of lab life as much as the knowledge that emerges from it, I’d like to make a special editorial call for posts that transmit what it’s like to be a scientist in today’s world. I know that in some quarters the term ‘science blog’ has become almost synonymous with ‘science news’, albeit much more in depth than what you normally read in the newspapers. Although many bloggers do what is essentially great, unpaid, independent science journalism – and long may this continue – I’m also interested in fostering the more personal side of the scientific experience. Such rare glimpses into a hidden world of science life can be just as illuminating for non-scientists as are the explanations of the fruits of its labors. The previous Open Labs have included a number of excellent examples of both sorts, and I hope that we again get good balanced representation for the 2008 edition.