Karen Ventii of the Science to Life blog recently announced that she will be the editor-in-chief of a newly hatched science magazine at her local University. A comment brought my attention to the Berkeley Science Review which first published in 2001 (first editorial) with significant contribution from Jessica Palmer of bioephemera. This is the first I have run across this idea and it sounds really intriguing to me.
The implications of more direct outreach from scientists to an interested public are topics I have discussed before in the context of how scientists might blog and potential ethical considerations for scientist-blogging. Topics I solicited reader input on as well. Other than that, I've tended to leave implicit that which I'll make explicit.
More direct communication between the scientists generating knowledge and their taxpaying employers/clients is a GoodThing
The "implicit" part of this is the fact that I blog on drug abuse and other science topics in the first place. To the extent that I've laid out any explicit arguments, this first post of mine post-assimilation is a decent start. I should note as well that I enjoy the blog fomat of science communication because it is bidirectional (see comment threads here, here, here.)
Nevertheless the notion of Universities with significant ongoing science to have a magazine for general science communication is really good. Sure, it can be a project for people specifically interested in science journalism, such as Karen Ventii. But it could also be a venue for scientists to explore communication to the non-expert audience. An established campus magazine, I'll note, also addresses one of the potential concerns that scientist-bloggers might have in that their efforts would not be formally recognizable. (Who would cite their blog on their tenure dossier?) A campus magazine is at least a citable publication under the "Other" category even if it is not the expected peer-reviewed journal.
What think you, DearReader? Good idea? Bad idea? Glaring timesink for people such as grad students and junior faculty who need to concentrate on "real" science work?
And since there is a very good chance these sorts of efforts are common and I have simply not heard of them, do you have a local campus publication that is similar to the Berkeley Science Review or the magazine Karen is launching?