The communication of science (and particularly discussion thereof and thereon, which often takes the form of post-publication review) has many opportunities in this electronic age. One such outlet is the plethora of social networking fora. In this regard I’m happy to put in a plug for the Annals of Botany’s own ground-breaking work, noticeably this very blog you are currently reading, which is cared for by ‘the two Alans’ – Alun Salt, ‘creative genius’ and the blog’s web developer, and Alan Cann, Internet Consulting Editor for Annals of Botany. But rather than use my words, let me quote another’s, who was commenting upon Cann’s talk at the recent European Association of Science Editors (EASE) conference in Tallinn (Estonia), ‘Alan goes on to describe the Annals of Botany own social media strategy. Its explicitly low-cost approach has succeeded in extending the reach of the journal through using blogs as hubs for distributing content via RSS, Twitter and Facebook while leveraging emerging tools like Flipboard to facilitate content discovery on new platforms such as tablet computers. By doing all this Annals of Botany is succeeding in addressing new audiences and new demographic groups’. A video of Alan’s presentation can be seen at that same URL, and ‘is a real masterclass in how academic publishers can make really creative use of social media’. So, is this an example of the ‘Heineken effect’ – with the journal reaching the parts other journals cannot reach? Maybe. In any event, blogging is clearly seen as a good thing as PLoS Biology has now started its own, PLoS Biologue. Where the Annals leads, others surely follow. Cheers, Alan and Alun!
About the author
Nigel is a botanist and full-time academic at Bath Spa University (Bath, near Bristol, UK). As News Editor for the Annals of Botany he contributes the monthly Plant Cuttings column to that august international botanical organ. His main goal is to inform (hopefully, in an educational, and entertaining way...) about plants and plant-people interactions.