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Symbiartic

Symbiartic

The art of science and the science of art.

What If All The Images Went Away

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Last week on Twitter and Facebook, I leveled criticisms at particular sites and railed against improper image use in science communication. Again.

After arguing with (arguably) allies in science communication I was fed up. Fed up with the attitude that unattributed images are just a (small) sacrifice for the net good of science communication to the populace at large. Fed up that photographers, cartoonists & illustrators are considered by many to be lesser professions than scientists & educators. Fed up that rapid image sharing (oh I'm sorry: "curation") can trample so many creators and yet lead to fame and fortune.

I found myself saying once again, "can you imagine what science communication would be like without images?

And now I'm going to show that to you. Click on the images for maximum effect.

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The 4 blogs I am showing below are all ones I consider to be excellent at science communication in all aspects: compelling reads coupled with effective, often astonishing images. These bloggers, in my opinion make every effort to attribute and use images correctly. They link back. They name sources, just as good science blogging should.

 

Deep Sea News

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io9 - we come from the future

See io9's post here

See io9's post here

See io9's post here

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Not Exactly Rocket Science

 

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Cocktail Party Physics

See Cocktail Party Physics' post here

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I wish that once a year, popular browsers like Chrome, Safari and Firefox could somehow block all images online as an awareness campaign.

Despite feeling discouraged last week about what it will take to see a phase-change in how image creators are treated online, I still believe there is hope. And thanks to those of you who encouraged myself and others who were wading into some ugly debates. Here are a few hopeful tweets I shared.

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Many thanks to Annalee Newitz (io9), Dr. Craig McClain (Deep Sea News), Jennifer Ouellette (Cocktail Party Physics) and Ed Yong (Not Exactly Rocket Science) for letting me stripmine their blogs in order to make these non-images. Apologies to your bloggers, illustrators, photographers and designers.

Before anyone goes scurrying off to see if they have ever screwed up and forgotten an attribution, let me assure you that these bloggers would welcome the correction. I didn't approach them because I am certain they are perfect: I approached them because they show respect to creators consistently.

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The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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