Nature Blogs: Science Blog Tracking and Indexing by Nature Publishing Group

The editors of Nature Publishing Group are not afraid to experiment with Web 2.0 tools. One of their recent ventures, DissectMedicine, a Digg.com-clone for medical articles and blogs, is currently offline but their latest project may be more viable.

Nature Blogs

Nature Blogs (http://blogs.nature.com) helps you "find great science blogs, keep up to date with the latest buzz and read the latest posts from the editorial staff on Nature Blogs, Nature's community-run blog tracking and indexing service"


Home page of Nature Blogs

Nature Blogs lists some of the most popular medical blogs in an A-to-Z index and the authors can claim (verify) they are the owners of a particular blog.

My experience with the verification process

I was happy to see that Clinical Cases and Images - Blog was already listed on Nature Blogs and just completed the verification process. The claim/verification is not very straightforward: you have to register for an account on Nature.com, paste a snippet of code in your blog template and click the "Verify" button on the Nature Blogs website. Your blog is then associated with your Nature.com account and you can edit its description, tags and other details.


Clinical Cases and Images - Blog listing at Nature Blogs

Challenges of social networks

Overall, Nature Blogs is well-designed and has potential. However, as with all social media services, the challenge is to get a critical mass of users to contribute and collaborate. Anybody can launch a wiki. The problem to get people to edit and expand it. Even Google could not re-create Wikipedia although they tried with Knol.

It is nice to see that the Nature Blogs team has a Twitter account which is becoming essential nowadays. I added it to my Twitter subscriptions.

"Slow and right rather than fast and wrong"

I wonder if the NEJM would consider adding science blogs to their website as well. On one side, I would like to know more about the thought process of the editors and authors outside of the very structured format of a manuscript. On the other side, the signal-to-noise ratio of the blogosphere can be disheartening. You see so many blogs repeating the same story all over again.

When we discussed introducing new tools to NEJM.com at the recent NEJM Horizons Conference, the Editor-in-Chief Jeff Drazen said "We prefer to be slow and right rather than fast and wrong." I agree. The NEJM is different from Google where the motto has been "launch beta projects often and don't be afraid to be wrong."

We know it is impossible, but we still want our doctors to be right every time, all the time.

References:
Digg for Medicine: Nature Publishing Group Launches Dissect Medicine, CasesBlog, 2006.
Tracking blogs from nature.com and beyond. Nature.com Blog.
Google Knol Collaborative Knowledge Database = Universal Textbook of Medicine?
Image sources: Nature Blogs.

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