March 16, 2013

Do scientists read newspapers or blogs?

A new paper surveyed neuroscientists in Germany and the US about where they get information on science-related news stories.

Based on the response of some 250 scientists (fairly evenly divided between the countries), the researchers found that scientists tended to give more weight to the influence of traditional media. For instance, more than 90 percent of neuroscientists in both countries said they relied on traditional journalist sources – both in print and online – to follow news about scientific events compared to around 20 percent for blogs.

Not surprisingly, the internet coverage of this paper has been fairly hostile (traditional media seems not to have covered it).

There’s a good  summary of the reaction by science writer Deborah Blum, but count me on the bemused side.  I do use traditional media to learn that particular science stories exist, but rarely to find out more about them.


Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »