The physicist’s implication that scientists who blog about their research are trying to circumvent peer review is unfair.
If we agree that science writing is valuable to society, scientists should share the same responsibility as journalists to provide comment and information in a clear and balanced way. Despite some examples to the contrary, there’s an awful lot of science writing on the web – about established results, preliminary findings or work in progress – that aims to do just that. The widespread coverage of the Opera neutrino results, much of which was excellent, is a great recent example. But it’s important not to ignore the exceptions, and figure out how to deal with them.
The view that scientists who write about their work online are somehow trying to subvert the scientific process is unfairly narrow. The web offers great potential for a rich and vibrant scientific debate reaching beyond the research community. We should work towards maximising that potential rather than rein it in.