Can we have a “Meta-Blog-Network” please?

Since the outbreak of the PepsiGate affair over at Science Blogs, the science blogging community – if it could be called a community – has been shaken, remoulded and has evolved extremely rapidly with the creation of all new blogging networks such as scientopia and the rapid expansion and evolution of other networks such as Discover and science3point0. Science Blogs hasn’t gone the way of the dodo though… more accurately it has done something more akin to the survival of the Aves taxon after the end-cretaceous mass extinction, becoming lighter, faster and debatably prettier after the quasi-mass-extinction event marked by the PepsiGate affair.

Anyway I digress, as an almost entirely* independent blogger watching with interest at how things develop, I must confess to a little annoyance that the focus of this recent evolution has been on creating more, large, all consuming blogging networks which at the moment seem to be mutually exclusive to each other and to independent bloggers who may or may not be willing to get involved with large co-operatives.

I am more of the opinion that some form of Meta-blogging-network is something that is severely lacking in the community and would be truely valuable. Despite some initial talk of creating meta-services, much like the news aggregators to be found around the web, there seems to have been no real progress with any of these overarching catch all services – we need a science-blogging-aggregator.

Such a service as I am imagining here is to catch network members and independents alike, and mutually create traffic for all. For example a service with whom you can register your collective or your independent blog, and the blog would then be trawled now and again, keywords in each post identified (possibly using tags such as in wordpress) and then links provided from blog A to blog B based on relevance with the installation of a widget in say each blog’s side-bar. Unobtrusive, workload light after registration and easy to configure, and all it would take is for a small amount of space on your blog to be devoted to the widget.

The closest we have to this is which does this sort of thing for blog posts about peer reviewed papers, but it’s workload heavy from what I can gather, and may not be the best service even for that, as discussed excellently over at Free as in Science on Science3point0.

This is of course only an idea, and i’m not a software designer so wouldn’t have the first clue about how to do it, but I would none-the-less be really interested in what the rest of the blogosphere thinks?

Ben Brooks

Short Link for this post:

* by largely independent: I am a member of Science3point0, but due to their focus on open-sci, open-source, open-data etc. advocacy (and it not being my forte) I’m not doing a great deal over there.


  1. maybe you could help with at least an outline. This way, you could influence the structure of such a network which surrounds a community you seem to have involvement, at least interest in, and definitely more so than any software engineer, web developer, web application architect, i am aware of (including myself).

    1. Hi Mike,
      Firstly thanks for the comment, I realise that the post above is just a badly hashed idea, and my wording isn’t great, I had a short discussion with another science3point0 member today where the confusion was expressed as a result and I’ll post my reply here:

      My apologies, I think my choice of words may have clouded the idea somewhat, the idea isn’t that it’s a site to which you go to find things (like Google News – it’s more like having a plug in for your blog which shows other, relevent blog-posts on the topic (but from all blogs, not just those on your network or with your blogging software). imagine the sort of ”what I’m tweeting” plug ins for wordpress and blogger.

      obviously such a large service would probably have some central point, but not necessarily much beyond a ”here’s our app” page and a load of bots trawling the web.

      I hope this explains my meaning better than the word ”aggregator” does.

      I really don’t have more than the badly hashed idea at present but I have been informed since posting that at least one group of people is working on something similar (though it’s shape/form I don’t know) and the folks over at science3point0 might run with it too.

      I hope this helps but knowing me it probably doesn’t.

  2. Hey can I copy and paste this post on my web site? What references must I give? You might give this info for other people too.


    1. I am more than happy for you to use material from this blog provided it is for a NON-COMMERCIAL purpose. The appropriate citation would be as follows:

      BROOKS, B.D., 2010, Can we have a “Meta-Blog-Network” please? [Online], available: [accessed 12/09/2010]

      or just mention the blog’s name and link to here.
      Thanks for the advice on providing this info, it can now be found on the About Me page.

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