v29 #5 To Blog or Not To Blog — Blogs & Research

by | Dec 11, 2017 | 0 comments

by Pat Sabosik  (General Manager, ACI Scholarly Blog Index;  Phone: 203-816-8256)

Researchers have made a place for scholarly blogs and commentary in the wheel of research.  Frequently, blogs are a convenient form for commentary on published research, new developments, and trends in the academic realm.  They can be seen as a continuation of a research project after an article has been published and in other cases, the blog itself is original research with the author choosing this form of publication over a journal.  Here are a few examples of the role scholarly blogs play in the wheel of research.

Kevin Outterson is the N. Neal Pike Scholar in Health and Disability Law at Boston University and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics.  He is also a blogger and contributes frequently to the blog Bill of Health which explores the intersection of law, healthcare, biotech and bioethics.  Prior to writing for the Bill of Health blog, he was an active contributor to the blog, The Incidental Economist, which covered the U.S. healthcare system and its organization.  Professor Outterson’s frequent journal articles address the same issues in more depth and his academic work in the classroom, as a journal editor, scholar, and blogger can be seen as a continuum of scholarly activity.

Linguist Claire Bowern, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Yale University, studies and teaches about Australian indigenous languages building on her original research on the historical morphology of complex verb constructions in non-Pama-Nyungan languages.  In her blog, Anggarrgoon, Australian Languages on the Web, she updates her field work and discusses her scholarly activity, updates on her research, and her role as the editor of a book series on historical linguistics to be published by Routledge.  Professor Bowern’s blog is an active extension of her specific field of research.

The world of statistics is an interesting place where data underlies concepts as simple as currency conversion or as complex as genomics.  Simply Statistics is a blog written by Rafael Irizarry, Roger Peng, and Jeff Leek, three biostatistics professors and data scientists.  They make the world of statistics interesting and understandable to a broad audience.  Roger Peng, one of the contributors, is Professor of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  His research focuses on the health effects of air pollution and climate change and he covers some of these topics through the lens of data science in his blog posts as well in his more formal academic writing.  Peng is also a co-director of a data science program offered online through Coursera and he produces a data science podcast.  The blog Simply Statistics is an extension of Professor Peng’s academic activity.

These three examples show how scholarly blogs are used in the academic endeavors of researchers.  They become extensions of their research, continuing commentary on topics, such as climate change, health care developments, and linguistics beyond individual journal articles.  These authors’ blog posts are accessible to a wider audience and cover a broader range of issues than their journal articles which focus on narrow slices of research.  Their scholarly blogs play a communications role in their individual wheels of research.  

 

Column Editor’s Note:  Blogs mentioned in this article can be found in the ACI Scholarly Blog Index. — PS

 

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