idea of academic blogging and its potential to one day change the face
of academic communication. I say "one day" because although there are
increasing numbers of academic bloggers, and academic blogging sites
like scientific blogging, only a small number of academics actually
So why don't most academics blog? Is it because there is not enough time in the day or that blogging is not yet an accepted form of academic communication?
I think both explanations are fairly common, and have merit, but if you
begin thinking beyond the basics you start to see other contributing factors.
While thumbing through my most recent copy of the American Sociological Review
I began to think generally about traditional academic discourse and,
specifically, about the academic journal. Unlike newspapers, journals
do not appear to be experiencing the same type of downward spiral.
Wiley, the major publisher for professional and scholarly societies, is still profitable. The ASR, mentioned above, has experienced a continued increase in the number of submissions. If everything is working as usual, why attempt to change the status quo?
Academic publisher push back against government mandated Open Access policies
is alive and kicking in Congress. The dream of those who have
envisioned a world wide web filled with openly accessible information
is still just a partial reality. For those fully entrenched in
traditional academic roles this discussion means relatively little but
for those of us with an interest in the future of academic blogging the
ability to link with openly accessible full text articles is critical.
A blog without links is like a journal article without citations.
Links to primary and secondary sources are what make blog entries
legitimate. Unlike traditional journal based academic discourse, where
the citations are many times known to the reader who is often assumed
to already be a part of the overall conversation, blogs provide the
ability to open up the discussion to an expanded readership. Since
this readership is unlikely to know the source material, direct links
provide the opportunity to connect the reader with the underlying
information. If the content is unavailable this legitimizing
characteristic is taken away.
One day, I fully anticipate seeing most academic material being both
fully and readily available on the web. But until that day comes I do
not believe that academic blogging will ever fully realize its