Fun Research Websites? Is that Even Possible?

Sometimes, as I’m hunting for interesting internet tidbits for my students, I encounter a truly interesting, science-focused site. I’ve compiled a small sampling of my favorites (or those suggested by colleagues). I hope you enjoy!

Discover magazine hosts a blog called Neuroskeptic. The name would lead you to believe that the site is dedicated to skeptical inquiry into neuroscience, however, there are many other interesting topics presented, such as plagiarism in journal articles, alcohol related violence, and history’s heroes and villains. The post I’ve had the most fun reading recently was the Etymological Map Of The Brain. I never knew where all those names came from!

Zeistgeist: Psychological Experimentation, Cognition, Language, and Academia
I met Rolf when I was a student at Florida State University. Aside from being both brilliant and pleasant as a professor and human being, he is also an excellent writer. He often meditates on interesting scientific topics. A recent post, Why Do We Make Gestures (Even When No One Can See Them)?, captured my curiosity and that of my students. As a teaser, your memory has a lot to do with it!

Had I Been A Reviewer (HIBAR)
Dan Simons has a fun blog in which he acts as a post-publication reviewer. As a reviewer for a journal, it’s been very interesting to read another reviewer’s thought processes as they go through an article. However, Dan is not just limited to HIBAR posts. He also summarizes some fantastic research in a way that is accessible for my students. Take, for example, How Experts Recall Chess Positions. It turns out that meaning matters!

Daniel Lakens
Daniel Lakens’ Blog has an interesting twist on HIBAR. This interesting post illustrates how social media, and specifically twitter, can allow researchers to evaluate research post-publication in How a Twitter HIBAR Ends Up as a Letter to an Editor.

Retraction Watch
If you’ve ever wanted insight into the nitty-gritty of scientific research, Retraction Watch is the place to get it. The name is a little misleading because the site doesn’t just focus on retractions; rather, there is information about the review process and the occasional legal proceeding. One of my favorite posts is Overly Honest References: Should We Cite The Crappy Gabor Paper Here?. Talk about a lack of proofreading from the researchers, reviewers, and editors! 

Seriously, Science?
Despite all of the posts mentioned above being interesting and thought-provoking, sometimes I just need to read something light-hearted. Seriously, Science? provides me with that outlet. Why not read about penguins running on treadmills or about the dimensions of the average sex toy?

Have fun reading science!