Blogs are a platform for communicating and discussing your research before, during and after you have published. Blogging increases the visibility of your research, both within and outside of academia.
There are many opinions, both favourable and critical, on scientific blogging. Often, the most vehement relate to the fact that the medium involves expression on a very personal level. Advocates of blogging highlight the opportunities it presents to engage with the outside world, while opponents see blogs as a time-consuming platform that is not compatible enough with other scholarly activities.
Blogs generate debate!
In a blog post from the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog, Dr Sarah-Louise Quinnell reports on her experiences with blogging. She describes, for example, how she enters into a dialogue with those who comment on her blogs and tweets and thus enhances the visibility of her work – also among her academic colleagues.
Blogging steals time from actual research?
Many academics who blog advise other potential bloggers about what to consider in advance. Their advice also includes descriptions of how to create sufficient time for blogging and also discusses the demarcation between blogs and core research activities.
In a blog entry from her blog Patter, Professor Pat Thomson describes how she has cut down on newspaper reading and plans to work more effectively with her e-mails.
In his blog post Advice for potential academic bloggers, Professor Simon Wren-Lewis writes that he blogs instead of watching TV. Wren-Lewis also writes that blogs are primarily categorised as a non-academic activity in Europe, while academics in the US are increasingly using them. Furthermore, he feels that, as a result of his blogging activities, his core activities, such as teaching, have improved and become more coherent.
Academic blogging versus personal blogging
Blogs are personal; thus there are completely different approaches to blogging.
Some academic bloggers only post blog entries within their research field, spicing them up with observations from their personal life, writes professor Alex Marsh in his blog entry on boundaries in academic blogging. He believes the solution is to tone down the scientific element in his blog and to perceive himself more as a blogger with an academic background tackling scholarly issues. This definition makes it easier for him to go beyond his immediate research field and thus easier to write regular posts.
One blog, several authors
Another possibility for ensuring regular entries, making it easier to retain a readership, is to participate in blogs written jointly with several authors, such as:
Or, in Denmark: Videnskab.dk (in Danish)
Another option is to use Twitter, which obviously has a briefer format than blogs, but functions in the same way as a personal communication and impact platform, without the maintenance requirements of a homepage.
Find blogs within your own academic field here: Google Blogsearch
Admin (20 June 2011). Academics and universities should embrace blogging as a vital tool of academic communication and impact (the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog) http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2011/06/20/academics-blogging-vital-tool-for-academic-communication-impact/
Sarah-Louise Quinnell (26 September 2011). From blogging to print: My journey to creating impact (the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog). http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2011/09/26/blogging-to-print/