What can AoBBlog do for you?

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I’m trying to finish up the annual report today for the Editorial Meeting on June the.. umm… 21st I think. The blog is becoming more independent of the parent journals so it’s not a huge issue for most editors. However, it’s the meeting where we’ll see members of the Annals of Botany Company, and they will be taking a closer look.

The editors won’t get away entirely unscathed. There’s going to be a discussion about outreach on the web in general, and here’s where you can help. It’d be handy to know if we’re doing anything wrong or right. It’s easier to point out where we get it wrong, so I’m not going to be grumpy if there’s constructive negativity in the comment section below. However, there’s another question that’s more use to you.

What can AoBBlog do for you that it isn’t already?

BloggingFatigue
Photo: Jonas Löwgren / Flickr.

Go wild with your suggestions anything between Link to my blog more often to Fund me for six month trip to Tahiti so I can take a photo for the unused Instagram account. Obviously, we’re more likely to do one of those things than the other. We are very picky about who we link to.

The reason we ask is that we want a healthy plant blogging community. We’re happy to host new and occasional bloggers here, but we’d be happier seeing more independent blogs. You might have an idea for how to encourage new bloggers. If so, and you think we can help, let us know.

It also helps if we can support established blogs. Sometimes that means discovering a blog that has been going for ages that I’ve missed. Other times it means giving a hand to a blogger who might need a little support for a while.

One idea we’re kicking around is a yearly award event. I’m kicking this fairly hard as I’m not so keen on it, possibly for cultural reasons or just because I don’t win awards. A good award event could highlight the best of plant blogging, but I think either there would be very few awards or else very arbitrary categories like Best post about a non-Arabidopsis plant. You’re welcome to disagree and if you know how it could work, leave a comment below.

Another is a plant blogging anthology. I had a minor role in The Open Laboratory, the first Science Blogging anthology created by Bora Zivkovic. I think there’s material for a plant blogging anthology and possibly the result could be compiled as a mobi (Kindle), ePub (Kobo/iPad) and PDF and archived in the Annals of Botany as supplementary data with a DOI if, we ask nicely.

We have a secret(-ish) blog aggregator using the moonmoon system. I wouldn’t want to make it public, but we could set up an independent site using Flow Flow. It’s a bit more friendly to the people getting aggregated, and would allow us to highlight some Facebook pages we like. This would depend on the people getting added to the wall being happy to appear there. Not everyone wants their work shared. Sometimes we get complaints.

You could have ideas of your own. Feel free to leave your comment below, use the contact form or message us on Twitter @annbot. The part of the report I’m finishing up right now is about new feature on the blog that, at the past three Editorial meetings, I’ve said couldn’t be done. Even if your suggestion isn’t feasible today, we will keep thinking about how to do it if it’s a good idea.


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  • Hi Alun,

    First, yes, do link to my blog more often ;-)– I actually do use whether AoB shares my posts as a gauge of whether I’ve written anything good or not. And I really was excited to contribute a book review to AoB in January. At the same time, if you’re willing to send me to Tahiti for that photograph…well, that’d be amazing.

    As for an awards program, I tend to agree with you, but perhaps a better framework is having the community of plant science bloggers (b/c we do read each other’s blogs, at least, I hope we do) nominate and write a blurb about a fantastic plant science related blog post they read in the past year and you could aggregate them into an end of year “here’s are some posts plant science bloggers loved this year”.

    And IDK how possible this is, but if AoB were willing to start an image cache of plants that could be used by others, I think it’d be an amazing resource for the plant science blogging community to have pictures of the plants we’re trying to write about as that is one of the hardest things to source. we’d obviously cite AoB for it and hopefully drive traffic to the gallery/site/blog.

    I love online content creation and trying to get people more engaged with plants and plant science, but it is a big challenge. I hope you point out that more and more people are getting their information about the world online, and from places like blogs, even if comments are rare now and we all just discuss things on Twitter.

    Another suggestion if it hasn’t happened already to make AoB more visible in the Plant Science Community: Set up a page in Plantae.org, the new social network for Plant Scientists.

    good luck with the review,

    +Ian Street

    • The image cache is an excellent idea. I’ll be honest, the chances of it happening soon are exactly zero – but that doesn’t stop me from starting to look how it’ll work.

      There’s the Encyclopaedia of Life pool on Flickr. You can search within this and all the photos should be creative commons images. It would probably make sense for us to work with this rather than do our own thing. However, I am wondering if photos from the journal could be donated to the EoL pool. I suspect the problem might be crediting. They’d be author photos not Annbot photos. You can see the pool at https://www.flickr.com/groups/encyclopedia_of_life/pool/