A gossip magazine for scientists?

The Irish Times reports
that James Watson would like to start a gossip magazine for scientists. He is
quoted as saying that “a magazine with true gossip would open up the possibility
of real criticism in an overly polite and restrained scientific environment. …
science is not best when it is polite”. 
I’m not sure I quite understand what he is proposing – gossip about
scientists’ lives, or their work? or about policy-makers? Or does he just mean a
less formal environment where scientific topics can be discussed?  Has he ever
heard of blogs, I wonder?
I’d have thought that blogs plus magazines like The Scientist and
Research
Fortnight
filled this niche quite well.

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we slip from print through to electronic information resources.
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6 Responses to A gossip magazine for scientists?

  1. Matt Brown says:

    Sounds like a late April Fools’ joke. Maybe we should also have a ‘Hello’ style magazine for science. It’s an oft-touted fact that scientists often marry other scientists, so there’d be plenty of wedding photos.

  2. Frank Norman says:

     Matt – you could be right; much of what JW says seems to fall into that category. 
    Maybe someone should try producing a pilot issue of Hello Scientist!

  3. Maxine Clarke says:

    Maybe the Prof concerned has not even heard of blogs 😉
    Some of Nature‘s correspondents are under the impression that Nature is a "Hello" style magazine for scientists, in that they get very hot under the collar when we publish journalism or editorials (they obviously have not read our 1869 mission statement).
    Wedding photos, hmmmm…..interesting idea. Not sure you could fill a whole magazine with them, though. Perhaps it could extend to pet photos? 

  4. Åsa Karlström says:

    Isn’t partly the thing with gossip that it is "andecdotal" and "not really based in reality" and therefore the gossip and scientists would sort of not go together….. (slight tounge in cheek here – I’ve been to those schmoozing wine thingies at conferences too 😉 )
    I don’t really think it would work. Maybe a gossip blog would be a better alternative? Although, I would be a bit scared that it would turn into "slandering" and maybe even dragging into court (based on what I’ve read so far on UK libel laws)
     

  5. Frank Norman says:

    Asa – we would have to develop a new species of evidence-based gossip. I think some systematic reviews of gossip (a la Cochrane) would also be valuable. 
    As for libel – no comment!

  6. Lee Turnpenny says:

    Not sure what he’s getting at either. He’s obviously an interest in things that mutate with copying and transmission. If he came down from his ivory tower and spent time in the minion’s coffee room, he’d get loads, surely. As for a way of sharing moans and dissent about the politics that govern it all, isn’t that what conferences (and, yes, blogs) are for? I take it then that he doesn’t mind the ‘gossip’ that he failed to properly credit Rosalind Frankin. But I have no idea whether that’s true; that’s the thing about gossip.