As a new grad student I once googled some suspicious-looking text strings in a student's New Idria field report and discovered that a recently graduated student had posted all of his school projects on his website for some reason. Naturally the student failed and I wrote to the blogger and asked him to take the material down or password-protect it. At the time I felt this was a fair course of action because the material he posted was an exact model of what we were asking students to do.
Now what about geoblogging? Field trip blogging? There's been a lot of buzz lately about whether it is ethical to critique or comment on peer-reviewed papers in the blogosphere, where the public often has access to the critique but not the original paper. In my opinion, anything that's published becomes public information and commentary is free. However, some discretion is advised, because these blogs are often written by people who carry some kind of official authority on the topic and there is a fine line between the "official word of the scientific community" and some casual spouting off by somebody who writes the "official word" as their day job. The discussion made me think about my flip language on this blog and my tacit assumption that if nobody comments, nobody reads it. Not true, eh? I suppose I could check my stats on blogger or something.
Anyway, I would like to think that somebody might be interested in the geologic information I post, as I am interested in others' posts, particularly field experiences, research questions, etc. but I am HORRIFIED that students might misuse this material. Almost worse is the thought that students or anybody else might inadvertently use blogs over more reputable sources. Students:
(I'll spare the rest of you for now, but any students who want to hear it, drop me an email.)
I am not going to stop blogging about field experiences and interesting problems. I can't anticipate every assignment that might be set at every university (although I could have anticipated this particular one, had I thought about it) to avoid writing something that might be utilized by an unscrupulous person. I will however, add a threatening copyright notice.
It's in the sidebar.
What else can be done? Anything?
(c) 2008 C. D. Rowe