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Can Blogging add an Additional Dimension to Academic Publishing?

This post continues the ideas on blogging to tackle publication bias, and blogging for all academics.

As USC Rossier reacted on Twitter by wondering if blogging could overtake peer-reviewed journals, an interesting discussion followed. I storified it for your interest!

[View the story “Can blogging add value to our publications?” on Storify]

Can blogging add value to our publications?

In a recent blog post I addressed some of the concerns that might prevent academics from blogging. In a following Twitter conversation, the controversial idea of blogging to overtake peer-reviewed journals was postulated,

Storified by Eva Lantsoght · Sat, Dec 08 2012 03:07:25

In case you missed it – go share this with your colleagues that don’t like the webz: Blogging for Every Single Academic Lantsoght
.@evalantsoght shows why it’s important for academics to blog. Will it overtake peer-reviewed journals? Rossier
@USCRossier @evalantsoght yeesh, I hope not. How on earth can we judge quality? Whoever gets the most retweets?Morgan Polikoff
@mpolikoff @evalantsoght Great point. We prob need both blogs & peer-review. Both serve important purposes, often overlapping.USC Rossier
@USCRossier @mpolikoff there’s a lot of extra that never makes it into papers that can be featured on blogs: bits of code, (1/2)Eva Lantsoght
@USCRossier @mpolikoff discussions of lab procedures, what doesn’t work (to tackle publication bias),… (2/2)Eva Lantsoght
Most of the time, I only “need” for my research what is published in the paper – ie. the main finding, the advances for my field. However, when I really want to use someone’s work as a solid basis, I often try to dig up the old research reports or theses related to the publication. Can we take this one step further, and pool up our tools online? Can we use blogging to share additional tools, insights, lessons learnt from doing experiments, lessons learnt from failures etc… ?
@evalantsoght oh, that’s a good point! Of course that makes sense.Morgan Polikoff
@mpolikoff although I’m not sure if blogs are the best place to share code etc… Still wondering how we can share our tools #phdchatEva Lantsoght
I still wonder where we can actually share this information. I would encourage a distributed system, in the cloud as compared to “old-fashioned” big library systems (that would need more funding etc for its upkeep, and if that gets privatized and needs to yield profit, we again lose the opportunity for truly open science) – but how can we make such a system sufficiently searchable?
@ajmceachin @mpolikoff @evalantsoght Can’t blogging itself be a form of peer-review? Many great bloggers had no formal peer-review.USC Rossier
@USCRossier great bloggers, sure. Does that mean we should make them tenured professors?Morgan Polikoff
@mpolikoff Not necessarily. But blogging can help academics build their reputation both w/i & outside their own school.USC Rossier
@USCRossier @mpolikoff @evalantsoght But the best blogs (and bloggers) first earn solid reputations via the peer-review process.Andrew McEachin
@USCRossier fine; this thread started w/ you asking whether blogs would overtake journals. Journal articles are #1 factor in tenure.Morgan Polikoff
@USCRossier @ajmceachin @mpolikoff these are different skills – publishing in journals is much more profound than bloggingEva Lantsoght
@USCRossier so no, blogs shouldn’t overtake journals. They are ancillary at best.Morgan Polikoff

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This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. Publishing is something much more serious – most of the time! – than blogging. But there are blogs who's scientific value is high. But surely not comparable with scientific works…

  2. In my opinion scientific journals are a relict of a time where spreading information needed a publisher and editors to review, produce and spread it. Can anyone tell me who nowadays reads all these thousands of journals, conference proceedings produced in formats as if academics have missed the internet age. Furthermore, publishers do not add any value anymore. Production of content, review of content and even formatting of content is mainly done by authors and academics themselves without seeing any compensation. The only seemingly added value is that of providing content in a web accessible database which is not publicly available but must be in turn payed by those that have contributed the content — the researchers and tax payers that have funded them. It is time to change this entire publication system in favor of the researchers and in favors of those that fund research — the tax payers and citizens. I dont see any obstacle in providing scientific results via a university web server that possibly is as well capable to handle a reviewing processes for editorial tasks. For me blogging, wikis and other web based publishing tools are the most convenient and most direct ways to publish sceintific results. Each of these tool categories is well capable to handle reviewing processes in a way that allows for more timely publication.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to express your views and the major weaknesses of the current system here.I still wonder how we, as researchers, can evaluate and publish our work completely independent of commercial interests (as we see too often now in publishing houses).

  4. Well, I think pragmatically we as researchers need a platform for the following purposes:(1) to produce, discuss and evaluate research results with peers and(2) to publish evaluated research results for the public(3) to find and read research results from othersFor the first requirement (1) I don't need any publishing house as this is already mainly organized without any involvement of publishers. For the second requirement (2) I don't need any publishing house either as I can do it myself on any webserver or university publication server and index it in some search engine. For the third requirement (3) I don't need any publishing house either as I can use web-based search engines.Honestly, I think that publishing houses like Springer will not play an role in this scenario if they do not radically change their business model. Scientific publishing somehow remembers me the music industry which still is somehow staggering in the light of new developments in the sector of music production.

  5. Yes – in fact getting rid of the politics and economics of the publishing houses might be much easier than we all think…Somehow, I do keep thinking it's up to the senior researcher / full professor to take a stand – I feel like no one would really listen to me, the little worm, who think things could be done differently to serve science better.Then again, maybe it is the task of GenY to be rebellious here….

  6. Eva! It is the very privilege of a researcher and university member to be critical, open and ruthless regarding new ideas that are of possible interest for society as a whole. I do not actually claim that I am right as there is no right and wrong in this case but I (as a senior researcher) observed that traditional publishers are not keeping pace with recent developments in scientific and journalistic publishing. Moreover they will have to prove their value-added in the whole publishing process when we consider that researchers and \”normal\” citizens mainly use and read scientific articles via the web using tools like zotero, mendeley, google scholar, By the way none of which has been released by a publisher. Rather universities, researchers and companies have released them. I understand that you hesitate when writing stuff like this but even the little worm may move at least a rock. Regards and congratulations to your blog. I found it as I was looking for alternative ways of publishing – perhaps I will organize a workshop for that purpose.

  7. Thanks for your input, and for your encouragement :)If you get to organize a workshop, I'd love to hear back about the results and thoughts of others.When we consider the internet as \”just a tool\”, something through which we can share our findings, and make collaborations worlwide possible -regardless of all fears we might have- then, I think we can fully tap into its possibilities.

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