We here at ZME Science don’t just write about science, we also read a lot. We spend much of our time scouring through sources, seeing what other journalists have to say, and constantly trying to learn. Both as journalists and just as citizens, we enjoy reading fine science stories. But in this day and age where misinformation is rampant, finding good, reliable sources can be challenging. So we decided we’d make a list of our favorite (English-speaking) science websites.
We each made a list of what we consider to be the best science websites (or the science sections of a general magazine) and we condensed it all into one list. By popular vote, here are the ZME Science staff’s favorite science websites (other than ours, of course *chuckle*), in no particular order:
The BBC was present on everyone’s Top Ten list, and it’s not hard to understand why. The quality standard that the BBC has imposed and maintained over the decades is simply stunning. It’s as reliable a source as any, and it also manages to keep stories interesting and fresh. The BBC’s science section also has a well-deserved reputation for editorial integrity and independence, as it is funded by annual licensing fees, not a single investor or investment group.
Despite being based in the UK and featuring plenty of UK-focused stories, the science section of the BBC is a gold mine for anyone who enjoys reading about science, regardless of where they’re from. In addition to its general science section, the BBC also features a monthly science magazine called Science Focus, as well as a Future section, both of which are well worth a regular read. Here’s just one example of the type of content that makes BBC‘s science section so appreciated.
National Geographic is one of the titans of science journalism. It started its life as a scientific journal in the late 1880s, but didn’t really come into its own until photographs made their way to its pages. To this day, it’s one of the best sources for stunning photography, good stories, and good writing.
If what you’re looking for is a glimpse into the planet’s most spectacular sights, incisive yet personal angles, a captivating story to take you along, and a balanced dissection of the topics at hand, National Geographic never disappoints. “31 photos from the Nat Geo archives that evoke joy” is a great summary of their photographic style and great breadth of subject matter.
As a science journalist, it’s hard not to appreciate Science. Although it does have a ‘news’ section with ready-to-read articles, Science is also one of the prominent journals out there, and it’s a great resource to find interesting studies and research to cover.
The outlet is not only concerned with covering research, but also touches upon adjacent, yet still impactful, stories. Policy, commentaries, the lives and deaths of people who shaped our understanding of the world around us also make headlines on Science. If you’re interested in research, researchers, and the greater gears that keep our worlds a’turning, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out on Science. I recommend “More than a virus: Science’s areas to watch in 2022” to get you primed on what to expect in 2022.
The New York Times is one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world and the recipient of 132 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other organization. Although the New York Times is famous for its investigations and political coverage, its science desk shouldn’t be ignored as it regularly publishes some of the best science journalism out there. During the pandemic, for instance, New York Times journalists painstakingly sifted through confusing narratives and folly to report the truth from the front lines. The newspaper also employs the latest technology, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and enhanced media communication. Their coronavirus daily charts and stats have proven so well designed and reliable that they surpassed those reported by official government sources.
A home to compelling storytelling that demystifies arcane-sounding science studies, you can never go wrong with the New York Times science section.
Eurekalert may be less known to the general public, but every science journalist worth his salt is familiar with it. Eurekalert is an editorially independent, non-profit news release distribution service launched by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), covering all areas of science, medicine, and technology. It’s essentially a gateway between hardcore science and science journalism and communication, where thousands of universities and institutes publish press releases and announcements.
Every day, dozens of study-related releases get published, and while you should keep in mind that these are not science journalism but rather press releases, Eurekalert is the perfect place to get your daily dose of science.
Wired is a monthly technology-oriented publication with a print and digital presence. The magazine debuted in 1993 at the Macworld Conference with a mission to empower the upcoming digital generation. The founding principle of Wired was that it would be optimistic — change is good and the magazine wants to become the first place you hear about the techno-utopia.
Although Wired is widely recognized as a tech publication, its stories that mainly focus on the latest scientific research are nothing but great and entertaining. These include headlines like “The Physics of Wile E. Coyote’s 10 Billion-Volt Electromagnet” or “Your Brain Is an Energy-Efficient ‘Prediction Machine”.
If you are looking for the latest peer-reviewed research works, you should not miss Nature, an international scientific journal that has been active since 1869. From environmental science to immunology, and genetics, Nature has research articles on every topic and subject that you can think of. The reputation of Nature as a scientific publication can be well understood from the fact that in 2019, the publication was declared the world’s most-read and cited scientific journal by the Journal Citation Reports (JCR). Furthermore, Nature accepts less than 8% of the total papers submitted on the website, and the ones that are selected for publication are internationally acclaimed.
But Nature does more than just publish science — it also has an excellent news section. At present, more than 30 million readers visit Nature Magazine’s website every month. Apart from scientific breakthroughs you can also find a lot of research work here related to business, humanities, psychology, engineering, and mathematics. So whether you are a student, a regular reader, or a journalist, if you want to stay up to date about the latest developments in any discipline, try Nature.
An online publication that focuses on both basic and bizarre science topics and presents them in a very easy to grasp format. Whether you are a school student who is looking forward to learning basic topics like Newton’s laws of motion, gravity, etc. or a tenured professor who is trying to stay updated with the latest development taking place in your field of interest, Live Science has something for every kind of science learner.
Apart from covering the latest research work taking place in fields like healthcare, animal science, paleontology, and astronomy, Live Science also occasionally enjoys fluff pieces and even has a dedicated section “Strange News” where you can find articles on the weirder side. Live Science is also one of the most popular science-only websites, being visited by more than 20 million science readers across the globe.
The National Public Radio (NPR) is a non-profit media organization from the United States, privately and publicly funded. It started in 1970 and currently serves as a syndicator for over 1,000 radio stations in the US. NPR also hosts a news website, including one section on science and one section on climate.
The website includes clips from the radio shows as well as unique and well-researched stories. These range from CRISPR and its implication for human evolution to a guide on how to talk to people who have doubts over the COVID-19 vaccine. One of the latest stories I’ve enjoyed reading was on weather forecasts and how it’s getting more difficult to make them and also for people to understand them.
The UK-based newspaper goes way back, founded in 1821 under the name The Manchester Guardian. It’s among the most trusted media outlets, according to several polls, and gives a big room for science and environmental news – with a big team of specialized reporters working from different parts of the world and reporting on the latest developments.
It features three sections on “science,” “climate crisis”, and “environment.” Stories range from new studies on the effects of the rising temperatures on people’s health to the unfolding of the James Webb telescope by NASA. The Guardian is one of my favorite news websites I like to start my day with. One of the recent stories I’ve enjoyed is this roundup with opinions from climate scientists on the Don’t Look Up movie from Netflix.
While these are our favorite ten science websites, there are plenty of other good ones out there. Here are just some of those, honorable mentions that are well worth your time and attention:
- The Atlantic
- The Washington Post
- Scientific American
- Quanta Magazine
- Real Clear Science
- Ars Technica