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Top 10 Borealis Blog Posts of 2015

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It’s that time of year, when organizations share the top stories that engaged their readers over the twelve months of 2015.

We’re happy to share the top 10 posts on the Borealis Blog in 2015, written by our fantastic team of volunteer editors. The posts cover everything from science blogging to animal testing, and from Canadian science policy to our forests and water.

#10: Water problems in water-rich Canada

Written by Earth & Environmental Sciences editor Sarah Boon, this post explored issues around water in our country in the context of the unprecedented summer drought in western Canada. It highlighted WWF Canada’s new watershed assessment tool, and concluded that the dearth of good data on Canadian water makes decision-making quite difficult.

#9: Animal testing and human health: a tricky balance

Written by Health, Medicine, and Veterinary Sciences editor Kasra Hassani, this post explored the benefits and drawbacks of using animal testing in scientific studies of human health issues. Hassani was able to explore a delicate and potentially explosive topic in a reasoned and calm manner, in the process informing readers of the many ways in which researchers have managed to reduce the use of animal testing.

#8: Science policy and blogging: mixing it up at CSPC 2015

Written by Science Borealis editor and Board member, Lisa Willemse, this post explored the linkages between science blogging and science policy based on the outcomes of a Science Borealis session on science blogging and science policy at the Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa. The conclusion? Yes, policy makers read science blogs!

#7: Learning to love math and stats

This was the inaugural post from our new Math and Stats editors, Auriel Fournier and Andrew Macdonald, and it was a hit! They explored the utility of math and stats in ecology and other science by sharing their own personal stories of learning to love statistics. This post definitely proves the point that storytelling and personal anecdotes can be useful tools in science communication.

#6: Polar Week 2: Arctic zooplankton and climate change

What’s amazing about this post is its staying power. Originally written in 2014, it’s a guest post by Jordan Grigor and Moritz Schmid on their research as members of APECS, the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists. We collaborated with APECS during Polar Week in early 2014, and this post – which explores the effects of climate change on Arctic zooplankton – was one of the top reads of 2015!

#5: Science and the Canadian election: a resource list

Compiled by editorial team members Steph Taylor and Sarah Boon, this list pulled together all the resources they could find regarding science and Canadian politics. It was designed to inform people of the issues rather than point them towards any particular party, and appears to have been a popular resource in the run-up to the October 21st Canadian election.

#4: Science blogging essentials: cutting the dead wood

Written by our Science in Society subject editor, Kimberly Moynahan, this post explored one of the best kept secrets in science blogging: keep it simple and too the point. The post resonated with a range of readers, and featured some of the best writing from our Science Borealis bloggers.

#3: You’ve got mail! And everything else. What’s a science blogger to do?

Another great post by our Science in Society subject editor, Kimberly Moynahan – this time on the many things competing for a science blogger’s time, including social media, email, and more. She recommends unplugging from social media for a few hours at a time to make sure you take the time to blog, so you can get your ideas out there and engage with your audience. Maybe something we’ll all resolve to do more of in 2016?

#2: Will there be a science-focused debate during the 2015 election campaign?

This post by our Policy and Politics subject editors, Pascal Lapointe and Josh Silberg, showed that our readers were very interested in the Canadian federal election and what the political parties had to say about science. It was part of the impetus behind the organization of a science-focused debate at the University of Victoria, moderated by Bob MacDonald of CBC’s Quirks & Quarks. It’s fantastic to see a post on science policy come in second place in our annual roundup, and speaks volumes about the importance of science to our readers.

#1: National Forest Week and the misconception of deforestation

Written by our Earth & Environmental Science editors, Sri Ray-Chauduri and Sarah Boon, this is another post from 2014 that had some serious staying power in 2015. It championed National Forest Week (NFW), and explored some of the shortcomings of a new dataset that was released by Global Forest Watch suggesting that Canada had some of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. By asking some hard questions, the post suggested that Canada’s deforestation rate was highly overestimated – something that may be rectified in future editions of the Global Forest Watch dataset.

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While these are the top 10 read posts of 2015, our editorial team has written many other fantastic, varied posts – check them out on the Borealis Blog.

We’d also like to congratulate Lisa Willemse and Susan Vickers (Communication, Education, and Outreach editors) on two Science Borealis posts that made Kirk Englehardt’s list of Best Scicomm Stories of 2015. This includes #8 in our list above, and this post from November: Who are science communicators? And a survey.

Congratulations to all of our editors, and here’s to more engaging, intelligent writing from our team in 2016!

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