The much anticipated selections for Open Lab 2012 were announced earlier this week. (Yes, the buttons I made said, “Submit to Open Lab 2011,” but due to a change in publisher, 2011 is going to be skipped.)
The 51 posts are awesome displays of writing. I’m pleased that a lot of things I nominated (alpong with who knows how many other people) are in there.
The breakdown of authors is interesting to me. Around half of the contributors are professional writers, journalists, and editors. Roughly one quarter of the contributors are early career scientists: grad students and post-docs. What you might consider traditional established scientists are not well represented.
This isn’t a huge surprise. Pro writers are good at what they do, because you don’t survive otherwise. In a highly competitive selection process, it stands to reason that works by experienced wordsmiths have the edge.
Still, I see so much potential in scientists writing about their own work that I’m disappointed that they are not a little better represented. I’d like the barriers between scientists and science fans to be thinner. Are we failing at communication? We’re still too stuck in big fancy words, too torn between research and teaching and administration and service, and too tone deaf at telling good stories, I fear.
P.S.—Editor Jennifer Ouelette shares some more excellent writing that didn’t quite make it in.