“Nature” on blogs

by Eszter Hargittai on December 6, 2005

The current issue of Nature has several articles about “Science in the web age” including a focus on scholarly searching online, the digitization of books, and the sharing of research ideas through the use of blogs, which discusses the use of blogs by academics to communicate about their research.

The latter is of particular interest here and something we have written about before. (If I had more time I’d link to even more relevant posts, it’s been a popular topic around here, not surprisingly.) This being the last week of the quarter I am running around like crazy and have little time to comment. The short summary of some current thoughts I have on this are as follows. Traditional academic outlets rarely offer the opportunity to publish short think-pieces. But many thoughts, while valuable, do not require or necessarily merit a 25-40 page paper. Where to publish them then? Blogs seem like an obvious and helpful outlet in such a case. And yes, blogs can have a peer review component if comments are allowed and knowledgable people are reading the material.



Brian 12.06.05 at 8:03 pm

But many thoughts, while valuable, do not require or necessarily merit a 25-40 page paper.

I basically agree with everything you say Estzer, but I’m not sure that this is the best way to put it. At least in some fields (philosophy and linguistics being the two I know best) there are lots of places that will publish 2-4 page papers that set out valuable thoughts. Half my CV is full of such notes. Admittedly there are many more of these thoughts that don’t deserve much more than a blog post. But if there’s nowhere other than blogs to publish 2-4 page thoughts in a given field, that’s a bigger problem than can be solved by blogs.


Eszter 12.07.05 at 12:49 am

Thanks, Brian. You’re right that the problem is more general. I wasn’t very clear about this. I do think that there is a general problem in academia, or at least in some parts of academia, that concerns the publication of shorter pieces. They don’t have to go on blogs. I was just suggesting that blogs were a possible outlet. And given that at least in some fields there don’t seem to be obvious venues for commentary of such length, blogs could be helpful.

[Do you mind if I edit your comment to spell my name correctly?:)]


foo 12.07.05 at 8:06 am

All these links, but none to Free Associaton? It’s particularly appropriate too, when talking about Nature and blogs. And it’s a good blog to boot; it should be more widely disseminated.

Comments on this entry are closed.