A friend and fellow PhD student asked for points of advice on starting a research blog, mentioning his hesitation to put "non-polished" stuff out there because he's used to getting everything peer-reviewed. Here's my reply.

1. It's a blog. It's not supposed to be peer-reviewed. It's often going to be crap. (Think lab notebooks and memoes.) Put a disclaimer at the top, big and bold, that THIS IS ROUGH and SUBJECT TO CHANGE and whatever else makes you feel comfortable that people will read your work as you intend it to read -- as rough stuff you're kicking around -- and do it.

2. Publicly accessible is not the same thing as heavily publicized. If you start a blog (on wordpress.com or whatever), in the beginning nobody will know about it, and nobody will find it, because the average person doesn't wake up one morning and think "ooh, I wonder what would happen if I typed in a random URL like random-person-research-blog.wordpress.com..." -- point being that your early readers will be the people you send links to, so they'll be friends and colleagues you choose to share with (I'd love to be one, for the record) and they'll pass the link on to people *they* trust with context of their own, and so forth... so you can think of this as making it much easier for your friends to share your work with their friends.

3. Choose a license for your blog. Creative commons something-or-other. I highly recommend CC-BY-SA or CC-BY (and not using the NC/noncommercial clause; see this essay for why). One of my professors recently started her own research blog, and we put citation/licensing instructions on a page on her site -- so that's how you can do it too, with minimal fuss.

4. I think that's most of it, really.  And I will actually go blog these posts up quickly now.

5. Oh -- that brings me to my last point. Emails make great blog post starters. Anytime you send a work-related email that gets into a decent explanation, think "could I blog this if I changed a few details for anonymizing?" This one did.