Professors, administrators, researchers, and graduate students are increasingly using social media to:
- communicate with their students,
- collaborate with peers, and
- publish their work.
Blogging in particular seems like an effective delivery format. Some academics are using blogs as a way to establish expertise and authority outside of an association with a specific institution. Others are requiring students to establish their own blogs and craft posts as course assignments, adding comments to classmates’ posts to increase interaction with each other and with course content.
Blogs and Publishing
Through blogging a new kind of scholarship is emerging allowing academics to report on their research, recommend possible courses of action, and ask questions that spark discussion.
The time required to publish in the traditional ways, e.g. textbooks and peer reviewed academic journals, can be lengthy. This presents a problem, especially in fields that involve technology, education, and communication. Research study conclusions and recommendations can be obsolete before they are published in print. Blogging provides a venue to make this information available to the public in less time.
What concerns should academic bloggers have about using this kind of venue to foster the exchange of information? Copyright? Acceptance? A system of peer review to ensure rigor?
Academic Bloggers and Social Media Experts
Academic blogging is not for everyone; at least not yet. Those who are out there challenging the academic status quo in open forums may be those who already have tenure or those not on the tenure track. And while many institutions may be encouraging the use of social media in coursework, they may not necessarily encourage the production of social media by those among their academic ranks.
How can social media experts and academics work together? Do you see a benefit in collaboration here? I gave a presentation on blogging at a recent educational technology conference and one of the attendees commented that it all “sounds like marketing”. Could a strategic, marketing-type approach be appropriate for these authors and their audiences?
- Can Social Media Offer Enough Carrots to Entice Scientists – The Scholarly Kitchen
- Most Professors Use Social Media – The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Tenure in a Digital Era – Inside Higher Ed
- Professors and Social Media – Inside Higher Ed
- Academic Blogging: Publication or Service? – Stephen C. Carlson
- Post-journal Academic Publishing? – Jon Smajda
- Academic Blogging Opens New World – University World News
- Attack of the Career-Killing Blogs – Slate (A grim view from 2005 – seems there is already progress.)
- What is Considered Previously Published Writing? – Writer’s Relief, Inc.
If you decide to cite a blog post in your next academic paper…
The latest (6th ed) APA Publication Manual includes instructions for citing blog posts, posted comments, and video blog posts. APA also maintains a blog called “APA Style”.
Photo Credit: timtom.ch, Flickr
I wholeheartedly agree with your ideas about blogs and publishing. I think that publishers, especially those who publish entirely online, have an opportunity to make academic work available in a more timely fashion. I wonder if any of your readers have experience with publishers who are doing that?
You’ve got a solid point with online journals – the time from submission to acceptance to publication should be less than having to print and mail. Finding a list of online journals, especially ones focused on instructional technology would be helpful…maybe another post! Do you think online journals might be viewed as less “scholarly” than print journals?
Yes, I think that the general perception is that online-only journals are less “scholarly” – but I also think that this is changing! Especially in fields like ours, which are so connected to technology, those journals are becoming increasingly respected. For example, Language Learning & Technology is one of the most prestigious (if not the most prestigious) in computer-assisted language learning.
One publicly available list of online journals is this list of open access journals in learning technology, educational technology, and e-learning.
Thanks for these links, Betsy! It’s great to hear that a top journal in your field is online, and that there are so many other online publications – and with open access, what a bonus :)