Joining the conversation: Social media and Insectes Sociaux

Editorial

Insectes Sociaux now has a strategy for engaging the IUSSI community of scholar/scientists in a faster-paced and less formal mode of scientific conversation. Through our Facebook page, Twitter feed @InsSociaux, and blog, we aim to bring life to the often difficult to penetrate world of scientific publication and to connect our community in a new and dynamic way.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive news and updates on Insectes Sociaux. Subscribe to the blog, which features essays by Insectes Sociaux editors and authors! Coming attractions may include Instagram, a YouTube channel, and whatever new and exciting developments in social media become available. Facebook and Twitter help to create a sense of immediacy about articles in the journal, as well as providing access to colleagues who can meet, potentially share expertise, and maybe even assist with the occasional species ID.

Traditional scientific publication forms an extended and very slow-paced conversation. The segments of the conversation include citations of older publications, the interchange among authors, editors and reviewers during the publication process. Readers react to a publication, and ultimately may join the conversation by continuing the cycle by publishing work that adds another layer of citations to the conversation. The traditional conversation has tremendous advantages in providing a filtering system, via editors and reviewers, for quality-checking work prior to publication.

The traditional system also has enormous disadvantages in favoring a writing style that is compact, unexpressive of emotion, and very restrained. This means that an author’s passion for their work is left unexpressed. Opinions about interpretations are typically self-suppressed because they are likely to incite negative reviews. Sometimes—perhaps often!— jargon and cryptic writing cloak the significance of piece of scientific work so that it is only apparent to a small circle of colleagues who possess very specific expertise related to the topic of the article.

The blog gives authors and editors an opportunity to express their passion for their work in less formal terms. We can try to write clearly, to explain the history behind their scientific choices, and to articulate opinions about findings. We can argue for the significance of a piece of work and why the community should pay attention to that work. In other words, we add an element of excitement to the framework of our journal. By presenting our work in this way, we also make it accessible to wider audiences, who can (potentially) get as excited about our work as we do!

Our honest intent is to elevate Insectes Sociaux in the collective mind of our community so that we remain an important outlet for scientific publication. By providing immediacy, non-traditional outlets for expression, and a conversation that extends beyond the pages of the journal we hope to bolster the significance of Insectes Sociaux.

Michael Breed, Editor-in-Chief

Marianne Peso, Social Media Editor

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