caveat grumptor

October 13, 2010 at 8:05 am | | blogs, science and the public, science community

Royce Murray doesn’t like blogs.

No that’s an oversimplification of his editorial. Actually, his worry is that science blogs are more fun and easier to read than real science journalism (which, by the way, is hard to find); meanwhile, bloggers have no required credentials, no accountability, and might just be lying to everyone.

Damn straight.

UPDATE: In case it isn’t clear, Royce Murray is one of my favorite chemists and teachers. UNC is my Alma Mater, and I really appreciated his class. While most bloggers are pretty unhappy with Royce’s editorial, I wasn’t offended. I basically agree that neither the public nor scientists should be getting information from blogs without a grain of salt. Especially this blog. I’m sarcastic 83% of the time.


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  1. Apparently we’re single handedly destroying science journalism, free society, and science funding.

    Comment by mitch — October 13, 2010 #

  2. His definition of traditional high quality science journalism leads me to question his ability to administer AC. Even the “good stuff” is full of overpromising and misrepresentation of scope, and it only goes down from there.

    Comment by Kendall — October 13, 2010 #

  3. Kendall beat me to it. Anal. Chem. is a ridiculous journal.

    Comment by excimer — October 13, 2010 #

  4. I actually agree with Royce. But I’m not worried. Blogs only augment science journalism.

    And I like AC. I wrote a review in AC. So screw you, excimer. ;)

    Comment by sam — October 13, 2010 #

  5. That was a really, truly weird description of blogging. I wonder if he was talking about Gawker or something…

    Comment by Chemjobber — October 13, 2010 #

  6. […] days since we talked about the under-use of the Internet by chemists.  Now, Everyday Scientist points our attention to a new editorial in Analytical Chemistry that reinforces my […]

    Pingback by ChemBark » Blog Archive » Editor-in-Chief of Anal. Chem. Dislikes “Bloggers” — October 14, 2010 #

  7. […] Royce Murray’s article “Science Blogs and Caveat Emptor” today (via Chembark via Everday Science). Needless to say, it rubbed me a bit of the wrong way, and before I knew it I had typed up a […]

    Pingback by Open letter to Dr. Royce Murray | Cephalove — October 14, 2010 #

  8. The editor of a middling journal calls out blogging as peddlers of false information? STOP THE FUCKING PRESSES. Oh, wait… no presses. n/m

    The problem with the elderly professor is that they lack scope and humor and have an unhealthy disdain for the disdainful. Somewhere, in their shrinking brain, they’ve forgotten what curiosity and boldness are and so it’s hard for me to get worked up when they don’t realize that bloggers and blogging are in the domain of those young, bold and occasionally stupid group of people that propel science. Indeed, chemistry bloggers (at least as I once was) are a group of young chemists reporting on chemistry from the bottom up. Brash, informal, fun and generally foolish, we (or should I say they?) nevertheless ARE the future.

    But I guess I don’t know what precipitated this. If this is because Royce perceive some breakdown, where uppity grad students can anonymously mock your research then just stop submitting your papers for peer review because as a graduate student, I did that too… it was just sent through Paragron with my boss’ name on it. (What PI reviews papers anyway?) Besides, you’ll get even fewer stupid suggestions about your research. Indeed, recently, my own research was lampooned on a blog. Did I cry? Did I unfriend the guy from Facebook? Did I rant in the editorial section of my livejournal? No. I’m made of sterner stuff.

    In short, Royce, by the time you’re emeritus and eating yogurt through a tube, the bloggers you deride so forcefully will have moved on – professors themselves, eventually finding something new and amazing the kids are getting into, and they too will thus write an ignorant editorial on this thing they find in their own middling science journal.

    In any case, consider me off your lawn, Professor Murray.

    hugs and kisses,

    Comment by Kyle Finchsigmate — October 14, 2010 #

  9. […] Everyday Scientist – caveat grumptor […]

    Pingback by “The current phenomenon of ‘bloggers’ should be of serious concern to scientists” | Terra Sigillata — October 15, 2010 #

  10. I am torn. On the one hand, Professor Murray’s contributions to the field of analytical chemistry is probably in the top 10 of living chemistry professors. To this day, his research group consistently puts out very intriguing and worthy papers. He is editor of AC, as well as the senior research chemist in the #1 Analytical Chemistry graduate program as rated by US News.

    I think a debate about this topic is certainly worth having. I do feel that not only does Murray not really understand what “blogging” is, nor realize how positive it can be. I also think its disingenuous to write an editorial like that without pointing out flaws in the peer-review process. It is, by no means, this beacon of credibility and respect. I’ve seen some laughable papers get published.

    Still though, after realizing all of this. I don’t think its necessary for people like “Kyle Finchsigmate” to be so offensive and ageist. That, we can hopefully all agree, is not welcome in the scientific community.

    Comment by Faraday — October 15, 2010 #

  11. Kyle was a farce. And I’m joking half the time too.

    I agree that Royce is an amazing scientist. I took an analytical chemistry course from him, and it was one of the most useful classes during undergrad!

    Comment by sam — October 15, 2010 #

  12. […] and Editor-in-Chief of Anal. Chem. Dislikes “Bloggers” and Open letter to Dr. Royce Murray and caveat grumptor and Caveat Emptor When It Comes To Science Blogs? and Readers […]

    Pingback by Quick Links | A Blog Around The Clock — October 15, 2010 #

  13. The sad thing is that it truly is emblematic of the endemic arrogance in the ivory towers. One of the most useful contributions of the blogs are they frequently stand as a foil to the overly doating, overselling popular science press that the apparently gullible, dumb masses (reading between the lines in the editorial) get their information.

    Comment by Kendall — October 16, 2010 #

  14. One final, way-too-late thought – Prof Murray signs off saying ‘caveat emptor’, which as we all know means ‘buyer beware’.

    How much cold hard cash do most/all chemistry blogs charge their readers?

    How much cold hard cash do Prof Murray’s ACS-branded journals charge their readers?

    At least ‘buyers’ of chemistry blog content know they’re paying precisely zilch to read the poorly written, over-hyped, hysterical ramblings of over-worked grad students…

    Comment by anon — October 22, 2010 #

  15. i’ve started hosting google ads over on the sidebar –>

    it *might* pay for the cost of hosting this website. maybe. i think i’ve earned $15 in the last 3 months.

    i suspect its a similar story for most chemistry bloggers. maybe the ones at Nature and C&E News get a salary to blog.

    Comment by sam — October 22, 2010 #

  16. I’m a Nature blogger! I get a salary for wide and varied editorial duties and they include blogging.

    I imagine it’s the same at C&EN and Chem World.

    Which on a wider level is probably why journalists don’t like blogs or blogging – it means extra work for them, but probably without extra pay!

    Comment by Neil — October 25, 2010 #

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