On doing a research blog

Sifting through my old papers this Christmas, I stumbled upon an article on research blogs written by my former lecturer at IT University, internet researcher Lisbeth Klastrup: Forsker og blogger:- webbloggen som forsknings- og fællesskabsværktøj (Eng: Researcher and blogger: the weblog as a tool for research and collaboration)

In the article, Klastrup, herself a dedicated blogger since 2001, urges researchers to take up blogging and explains how using a blog as a notebook for your research serves perfectly as a filter of information and tool for reflection, assisting the thought process when facing a new challenge or idea, as well as making it possible to find that thought and that reference again when needed in a later stage of the process. And yes, I thoroughly enjoyed having my own experience and hopes for this blog confirmed by an experienced and insightful academic, a reassurance that blogging could set me on the right track.

Another point by Klastrup was the potential for building your network in the blogosphere, sharing posts, comments, references and ideas with other people in your field. Although, as Mortensen & Walker (in Klastrup 2005, as above) point out

“The current reward system depends on certain formulas of academic publishing that encourage exclusivity and the fear of being robbed of thoughts and ideas. Since the real currency in the trade of academia is originality of thought and imaginative development of theories, there is more to lose than to gain in exposing your own ideas too early. The danger of having thoughts, ideas or questions copied before they have been published is not just a matter of some petty game between jealous professors with too little time on their hands, it’s a very real matter of being robbed of the currency which measures academic success.” (Mortensen & Walker:262)

I still like to think that knowledge creation should be a generous and collective effort, and even if I hope that I will eventually come up with ideas worth nicking, I prefer to trust that people who share my interests will also share my desire to discuss and collaborate rather than compete. But maybe they have a point.

Now, I’ve written before that the point of this blog was not necessarily to reach a larger audience, that perhaps keeping it a bit quiet might make it more useful as a notebook, as it takes away some of the pressure of coming up with brilliant posts when I have more silly questions than clever answers. But maybe it’s time to try to attract some followers after all. Maybe I should do a post on Formidlingsnettet to catch the attention of the Danish museum crowd. And maybe I should make a tweet about each posting, adding some #muse hashtag in the hope that it might get picked up by some international players (if nothing else, that would give me something to tweet about, being a bit rusty in that department, and never really much of a songbird @rikkebaggesen).

Which leads to the question: Is blogging becoming a thing of the past, whilst Twitter is where it’s at? Going back to Klastrup, it would seem that even her dedication as a blogger has waned, her latest post dating back to the autumn of 2010, whereas @klast is very active. And closer to home, the blogs by RSLIS reseachers Jack Andersen and Henrik Jochumsen mentioned in Klatrups overview of Danish research blogs (a project which itself seemed to have faded out in 2008) can no longer be found. As for my fellow Ph.D. fellows here and in other institutions, none of them seem to care much for blogging either.

So is this blog an altmodish side track after all? Is there anybody out there who cares? Perhaps the potential for building a network of reseachers through blogging is limited these days, or maybe I just haven’t found my posse yet. Indeed, Mortensens latest post is still fresh off the wordpress (even if she uses Blogger), and Christian Dalsgaards article on research blogs in Mediekultur is only from last year. Either way, as long as the format works for me, I’ll stick with it. Might even earn me a few ECTS credits, or at least a brownie point or two.

  1. rikkebaggesen said:

    What a great resource! Thank you for pointing me to that. I imagine her findings can inspirere some interesting reflections on my own communication. By the way, do you know what happened to the RSLIS/ IVA blog cluster?

    • Perhaps you could ask Bodil about what happened to the RSLIS/ IVA blog cluster.

      • rikkebaggesen said:

        Had a good chat to Bodil who refered me to her own research on researcher’s blogs, so that’s yet another good source of information on the topic. By the sound of it the cluster just petered out; might ask Henrik and Jack themselves someday what they gained and learned from blogging and why they stopped.

        As for the network aspect, did you see that I had a response from Charlotte SH Jensen on my latest post? That is so cool! (Whereas teenage exclamations probably aren’t…)

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