Monday, October 14, 2013

Do not FUCK with science bloggers!

My friend and colleague Dr. Danielle Lee had a run in with the man this weekend. Dr. Lee is a postdoctoral researcher in Oklahoma and she writes a blog for the Scientific American Blog Network called The Urban Scientist. She was recently asked by another organization (whom I had never heard of before) called Biology-Online.org to contribute a monthly blog post. After she politely asked if she was going to be paid for her writing she received an unthinkably unprofessional and flagrantly demeaning reply. Aghast that Danielle may want to actually get paid for her work, the representative asked...

"Are you an Urban Scientist or an Urban Whore?"

What. The. Fuck?

Prominent blogger PZ Myers points out the "nuances" of the questioners intonation.

 In the wake of this electronic slap in the face Danielle took it upon herself to post the e-mail on her blog at Scientific American and record the following video response.  I am absolutely amazed at her composure. I do not think I would have been able to hold back my emotion the way she does here.



So, Scientific American had her back from the start and took steps to sever connection to the person who wrote that e-mail to Danielle, right?

Unfortunately, not exactly.

As we found out later - the legal team at Scientific American got all worked up over Dr. Lee's decision to share the e-mail exchange on a blog with their letterhead on it so they took it down without telling her.

They censored her to cover their asses, that is exceedingly clear.

But to us, their concerned public, SciAm Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina tweeted this

This was Saturday morning and ZOMG did shit hit the fan. The internet exploded with a veritable rallying cry behind Danielle under the banner #StandwithDNlee. The part about how the post fell outside the mission of "discovering science" epitomizes everything I find frustrating about the old model of media, that there are these shining beacons of truth and that we should really trust brands over people. In this day-and-age words ARE science! Words on the internet are highly traceable data points. There is an entire branch of science emerging that makes hay out of twitter data. Someone will post a graph of #StandwithDNlee trending data over the last three days and I will post it here when I find it. To say that any blog-post on any topic is not about "discovering science" is to be caught unaware about what science on the internet looks like today and will continue to develop into in the future.

After calls to Boycott SciAm from Dr. Isis and fierce push-back from within the very SciAm Blog Network itself Mariette DiChristina issued a more thorough public statement here.

In the statement DiChristina attempts to explain what happened and the precarious timing of it all as this went down on a holiday weekend and so on and so forth.

I wanted more ownership of the fuck-up but hey, people are going to protect their interests first and foremost.

Currently, Dr. Lee's Post is back up and my other hero Bora Zivkovic, the blogfather himself, is doing his best to pull up the mainsail on a network that had a rough weekend. 


If you are sick of all this drama and just want to laugh for a bit. Check out our first #MicroscoParty. I'm posting this so you can witness first-hand the awesomeness that is Dr. Danielle Lee.

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