Saturday, November 12, 2016

Some advice for academic blogging

I came across this interesting article on my twitter feed, and thought you would find it helpful. The article goes into considerable detail about different types of blogs and how we as scientists can utilize blogs to share our research and expertise. I would still offer a word of caution. Editors and peer reviewers still frown on reporting original data first on blogs and then submitting to their journals. There has been a debate as to whether work published first on a blog is already "published" and hence a submission to a journal afterwards would be considered republishing the same data set - something considered a form of academic fraud (although I probably would not quite be that harsh in my judgment). In addition, blog posts simply will not be new lines on your CV for the purposes of finding a job or obtaining promotions. So proceed with caution. My approach has been to offer narrative descriptions of recently published work, and to attempt to provide links to those articles as best I can so that interested readers can examine the data analyses themselves.

So why commit to science blogging? I would say the simple reason is to open up the lines of communication, not only within our particular disciplines and specialties, but also outside of our academic disciplines and to the public at large. I consider blogging as part of a commitment to a mission advocated by the late cognitive psychologist George Miller, namely "the giving away of psychology in the public interest." Doing so makes our work more accessible and understandable. We benefit as scientists if we can cultivate public audiences who are engaged in our work as we fight various battles to maintain and enhance public funding for scientific research, and to regain the respect that the public once had for the difficult work that those of us with highly specialized expertise do on a day to day basis. In other words, blogging can be a needed counterweight to a climate of anti-intellectualism that has plagued my particular country, but also increasingly world-wide.

As for myself, I have not been able to blog nearly as much as I would like due to personal circumstances. I am hoping that the worst of those circumstances are over, and I should be posting a bit more regularly going forward. For those interested in my work, my ResearchGate profile and Social Psychology Network profile both remain up to date, as does my LinkedIn profile. Often I can provide downloadable pdf files of my published work, for those interested, and I invite you to do so.

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