Good Scientific Communication

Writing on drought, I have had many occasions to draw on the research done by Richard Seager’s North American Drought research group at Lamont-Doherty. While their work often merits a news release from Columbia’s press office (as with the Dust Bowl paper I’m currently writing about), Richard and the other members of his group also have written a series of excellent web pages on various facets of their work.

For example, they’ve done a page on their new Dust Bowl work that offers a more technically sophisticated explanation of the research. It’s written with a few notches more technical sophistication than the actual GRL paper on which the research is based, offering an accessible but more technically rigorous outline of the work, midway between the paper itself and the news release.

Another excellent example: Causes and consequences of nineteenth century droughts in North America.

By one good measure, this approach is working: The group’s main page is the number one hit on A Commonly Used Search Engine (ACUSE) when you search on “drought research”.