Brad de Long writes about why blogging is good for academics in an article "The invisible college." Although the author is an economist, the argument applies to the sciences and any academic discipline, in my opinion. Here are some excerpts:
"I walk out my door and look around: at the offices of professors who know more about topics like the history of the international monetary system or the evolution of income distribution than any other human beings alive, and at graduate students hanging out in the lounge. It’s a brilliant intellectual community, this little slice of the world that is our visible college. You run into people in the hall and the lounge, and you learn interesting things. Paradise. For an academic, at least.
But I am greedy. I want more. I would like a larger college, an invisible college, of more people to talk to, pointing me to more interesting things. People whose views and opinions I can react to, and who will react to my reasoned and well-thought-out opinions, and to my unreasoned and off-the-cuff ones as well."….
….."with the arrival of Web logging, I have been able to add such people to those I bump into — in a virtual sense — every week. My invisible college is paradise squared, for an academic at least.
Plus, Web logging is an excellent procrastination tool. Don’t feel like grading? Don’t feel like writing that ad hoc committee report or completing the revisions demanded by clueless referee X? Write on your Web log and get the warm glow of having accomplished something.
Plus, every legitimate economist who has worked in government has left swearing to do everything possible to raise the level of debate and to communicate with a mass audience rather than merely an ivory-tower audience. That is true of those on the right as well as the left. Web logging is a promising way to do that….."
This article is part of a series published in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled "Can blogging derail your career?", arising from the case of Juan Cole, who may have missed out on an appointment at Yale Univeristy because of his blogging. I believe that the articles in the series(listed and linked below, including one by Army of Davids author Glenn Reynolds) are freely available.
Article: The Lessons of Juan Cole by Siva Vaidhyanathan
Article: The Politics of Academic Appointments by Glenn Reynolds
Article: The Trouble With Blogs by Daniel W. Drezner
Article: Exposed in the Blogosphere by Ann Althouse
Article: The Attention Blogs Bring by Michael Bérubé
Article: The Controversy That Wasn’t by Erin O’Connor
Article: Juan R.I. Cole Responds