Informal intellectual exchange

Posted on February 6, 2008

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There are a number of things that I’ve posted to this blog that, with the benefit of hind-sight, I recognise to have been ill-phrased or ill-considered. It would be easy to remove them but I have no wish to do so as that would not be true to what I see as the point of this blog, which I essentially see as thinking on paper (or electronic data storage, as the case may be). This blog is not the place for the well considered ideas that have been carefully thought through. That’s what academic journals are for. So, much of what I run through here will never make it to publication stage or, if it does, in a much altered form.

What benefit do I gain from maintaining this blog then? Apart from being the place where I do run through some ideas it also provides me with a record of where I have been in my research. Of course, this could just as well be achieved with an actual piece of paper (or two). The further benefit that thanks to this blog I have come into contact with a number of others interested in similar research topics and, in effect, we have been able to share our ideas. Journal articles and other academic publications rarely do justice to the great role played by the informal exchanges between scientists. People may go to conferences to listen to talks but, most often, the most interesting work is done over dinner or a beer when a small group of people with related interests hammers out the rough ideas that they had floating about in their heads. A research blog does not have the same immediacy, or lager on tap, but it helps to provide something of the kind.

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Posted in: postdoc, research, science