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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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Although I want to preface this with my usual warnings about too much meta, I did speak to the Times Higher Education this week for a piece they were doing on blogging.

If you read the original piece, you'll note that the quotation is an elided excerpt, so I thought it worth sharing the full spiel, as I think it comes off very differently.

Resistance to blogging in the academy is a product, in my opinion, of an extremely conservative environment coupled with a lack of high-profile proponents with traditional publication records. While a conservativism can be seen as necessary to preserve the positive aspects of the publication process, metrics such as REF do not value informal, stratified dissemination methods (such as blogging) and so the mode is pushed to the side. Those of us that continue regardless have to remain content to see our practice as a hobby. Secondly, the group of early careerist blogging advocates (and ECRs are, in my anecdotal experience, the most likely group to use the form) can be problematic. Unless those with substantial and promising traditional publication records see value, it seems that we might end up with a sadly tiered structure: "those who can't publish, blog" -- and that shouldn't be the case.

Academic blogging can be an important medium, when it avoids the meta-narcissistic onanism of "blogging about how important academic blogging is". An academic blog is a space to write about HE policy, write about your research, publicise your conference papers and publications and to score well in search engine results. It facilitates networking (it's now rare that I attend a conference without somebody telling me they've read my blog or follow me on Twitter) and gives me a space to communicate. I accept that it's not for everybody and I do not think that blogging should, or could, replace peer-reviewed work. However, playing with the blog form in a non-blind, but still reviewed format, such as the Alluvium project that I run with Dr. Caroline Edwards, can yield profitable returns.