Monday, October 19, 2009

Science Reporting Ethics

Do you have any thoughts on the ethics of blogging about scientific presentations?

The issue (for you non-scientists out there) is that scientists generally give presentations (whether to departments or international meetings) with the assumption that what they display, say or imply probably won't travel very far outside the room.

So, how do you report something that isn't meant as public knowledge?

For me, it's not so much an issue of presenting "scoopable" data out to the wider world because I generally blog from ideas (usually anecdotal) given in presenters' introductions - which I try to tie into other ideas I've been exposed to. What I don't want to do is imply that the author has opinions they didn't state (or don't want to announce publicly), not give credit where it's due, have to approach every person and ask them if it's ok or never talk about stuff presenters say in the first place.

Any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I think this is pretty straightforward. Though talks are not usually intended as entirely public, it's certainly true that anyone in the audience can leave and tell their friends, coworkers, etc. about the talk. So blogging it doesn't seem much different ethically. Reproducing a talk would be a problem, but reporting on it doesn't seem to be a big deal to me. It does, however, require a higher standard of journalism than chatting about a talk over beer with a coworker would.

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