Why a Blog? (Or, Meet Me at the Salon (or Saloon)


Blogging allows freedom and elasticity that is often missing in the traditional scientific literature. This new venture will supplement the primary information published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (JID) and other journals publishing research related to skin, its function, and its diseases. Our aims are to 1) establish a virtual cocktail party, where readers find lively, interesting, useful conversations; as the tavern-keeper, my role will be to keep the glasses filled, conversation hopping, and brawls to a minimum; 2) provide historical context and comment on the conceptual and practical challenges related to research; and 3) broaden the reach of the JID by interesting a wide community of investigators and clinicians who care about the scientific basis of medicine and health. Ideally, I am envisioning more of a salon, than a saloon, and at my best moments I can be Gertrude Stein. No doubt our readers and commenters will enjoy riffing on that one.

Original JID content will serve very often as a jumping-off point for posts, but our goal is to address larger scientific issues, such as education, funding, theory, the effects of the increasing age of funded PIs, patient care, and international differences in science funding and training. Performing outstanding science requires a social structure conducive to developing and supporting scientists and their research. We will discuss issues related to career development and governmental and industrial commitment to research, as well as new technologies and innovative ways research groups are interacting. An international perspective will be presented by writers and the comments that are offered. As Science is more and more a team effort, the role of professional societies in providing forums for the presentation and dissemination of new research and in the organization and rewarding of discovery is also anticipated to be fodder for discussion. Additional topics may be derived from professional society happenings, new events relating to scientific endeavors relating to skin, and articles published in other scientific journals of interest to the cutaneous research community. Many late-night conversations at meetings (or rather, at the hotel bar) touch on these very subjects (important, big-picture stuff), and I see this blog as a virtual forum to continue those discussions.

One measure of the success of this venture will be the comments posted by our community of readers, and we welcome your full and enthusiastic participation. Commenters (and bloggers) will be expected to abide by a few basic rules: express conflicting opinions, supported with evidence (and proper citations), as they are welcome; use your real identity; take full responsibility for your words; enhance the discussion with new thoughts and questions; use appropriate language; and only throw darts at the wall (not at people). For a full set of community rules, visit http://www.nature.com/info/community-guidelines.html.

One thought on “Why a Blog? (Or, Meet Me at the Salon (or Saloon)

  1. Rather than take the easy road and start the commentary with comparisons to Ms. Stein, I will congratulate you on this effort and voice my support for the full participation from our scientific and medical community.
    I was interviewed recently for a piece about education and science. I was asked, “what is more important in education—science or drawing?” I replied that the scientist in me believes you can not measure importance in one simple comparison. The artist in me believes that the art we create inspires scientists to seek a deeper truth in the beauty that abounds in the world we live in. The human in me believes that art and science must exist to support each other—it is philosophy, indeed, that ties the two together and brings them to the salon where we can compare notes over sidecars and gimlets, leaving inspired to begin the day anew in the lab or in the hospital.
    The number of young students pursuing careers in science in the United States is declining and anecdotally, the existing scientists are finding themselves overwhelmed with the pressures of survival in today’s competitive environment. I hope that the JID Jottings will provide a much needed place/space to voice creative notations and musings that will remind us all why we seek the elusive truth at the frontier of knowledge and will have a ripple effect to inspire the next generation to pursue such a quest.
    There is great beauty in dermatology to be seen in the clinic, at the microscope, and in the test tube. It is great to have such a thoughtful tavern-keeper to keep us inspired and on point … and pour us a fresh Pimm’s cup if the conversation is running a bit dry.


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