Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The blog monster

Posted by Mark Welford

You may have noticed that change is afoot in Fuse-land and this includes the blog.

Since its inception in February 2010, the blog has hosted 250 posts and received nearly 105,000 individual page views. Of those 250 posts, Jean Adams - the founder and force behind the Fuse Open Science Blog - has written a whopping 94 or to put it another way, 38 per cent!
The blog is a monster that needs to be constantly fed and when food's been scarce on Jean’s watch she's always been on hand to rustle something up.

The ravenous blog monster
It began here with the blog’s first ever post. Since then she has regaled readers with tales of being a media darling, balancing work and life, showing Fuse duck around Newcastle University, her experience as a medical student, and provided advice to PhD, MSc, and research students. She's written about blogs and blogging, knitting, trekking, running, her introversion and fear of the phone … and sometimes even had time to write about research.

So, the news that Jean is moseying out of town in search of pastures new (what’s the second oldest University in England got on Newcastle - gondolas?) leaves a rather large Jean shaped hole, metaphorically speaking!
Our solution? Create a Fuse blog working group to fill the gap.

Let me introduce you to the friendly group of Fuse members who now oversee and edit the blog: Amelia Lake, Lecturer in Knowledge Exchange in Public Health at Durham University; Jonathan Ling, Reader in Public Health at the University of Sunderland; Jenni Remnant, PhD Student at Newcastle University; Avril Rhodes, Fuse Knowledge Exchange Broker; Peter van der Graaf, AskFuse Research Manager; and me.

Yes, change is scary but change is also exciting and this is an opportunity for new ideas and new people to keep the blog vibrant.

One of the original aims of this platform was to act as a tool to provide two-way engagement with people from outside of academia in local and regional government and other public, private and voluntary organisations. In its current form, the blog is focused on providing insights into public health research and over time could be said to have evolved into more of an internal resource, with posts often - but not always - written by researchers for researchers.

This isn't a bad thing - after all we are a research centre - and we would like to thank all those who have contributed so far and made the blog the success we believe it is. But we think it can be even better! As well as researchers we want to encourage ALL those working in and around Public Health to contribute to the blog in order to stimulate an open forum for debate that captures the full breadth of population health.  
If you work in Public Health then please get in touch. 
  • We want hear about your aims, priorities, and challenges.
  • Which issues need to be brought into the public eye and debated?  
  • Can you provide an insight into your role in Public Health for those not directly involved?
  • Is there a public health related campaign in your area that you want to promote, or could you write a post that coincides with an event or a topical news issue?
Or simply let us know if you have any other ideas on how the blog can be improved.
We publish posts twice a week and publicise these via our main twitter account (@fuse_online), Amelia’s account (@Lakenutrition) and Peter’s (@pvandergraaf75). We welcome posts of around 500 words. These tend to be light-hearted takes on the day-to-day joys and frustrations of being involved in Public Health and often spark interesting discussion, both on-line and in person.
Email your posts to m.welford@tees.ac.uk or contact any member of the group by following the links above.
Finally, a big thank you to Jean for her dedication in feeding the blog monster. We all wish her well in her new position with the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) and the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.

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