Guardian science and environment networks to close but papers says it remains 'firmly committed' to wide-ranging coverage on topics

The Guardian is closing its science and environment networks, but has insisted it remains “firmly committed� to its coverage of the subjects.

The online science blog network hosts expert writers covering topics from mathematics, particle physics and astronomy to neuroscience, science policy and psychology.

The Guardian website says the network “broadens and deepens our coverage of scientific research and debate� by giving these experts freedom to write without editorial interference.

The network has been running for eight years and the page is still updated every every few days on average.

The Guardian Science Blogs Twitter account, which has 40,000 followers, describes the network as “a collection of the world’s finest science bloggers, writing about the world’s most interesting ideas. We aim to entertain, enrage and informâ€�.

The Guardian also publishes an environment blog a few times each month on average, and the wider  environment network, which has a different function of bringing together links from “the world’s best websites focusing on green topics� to “provide high-quality news, opinion, advice, blogs, data and tools�.

However, the network page was last updated on 14 February and only infrequently in the months before that.

Both networks will formally close at the end of August, although all existing content will remain online.

A Guardian News and Media spokesperson said: “We have made the decision to close our science and environment blog networks as our existing team of environment and science reporters provide our readers with wide-ranging global coverage on those subjects.

“We remain firmly committed to coverage of science and environment and welcome article ideas from bloggers who have previously written for our networks.�

Former Guardian science correspondent Alok Jha described it as a “terrible, shortsighted decision� on Twitter, adding: “When there’s so much bullshit swirling, we need more places like Guardian Science Blog, not less.

“Closing the network removes thoughtful, necessary rational voices from an ever-more-confusing public discourse. Shame.�

Dr Pete Etchells, who coordinates the network, tweeted: “It was a difficult decision taken by the powers that be at the paper, but one that makes sense for a variety of reasons, so I understand where they were coming from.

“Still, it’s very sad news. Head Quarters [a psychology sub-section], and the wider network, have been a huge part of my life for the past five years.

“I’ve learned loads about writing, made some brilliant friends and colleagues, and had some amazing opportunities open up as a result.�

Source: Digital Journalism
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