Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Evidence of the Value of Blogs as Scholarship

One of my soapbox topics over the last two years has been the value of blogging as scholarship.I did not attend the American Library Association midwinter conference, but now wish I did.

A post over the the Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted Andre Brown, a doctoral student in physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, who presented a case at midwinter to support the argument that blogs are increasingly being used by scientific researchers for sharing of ideas and developing new ones. Mr. Brown authors his own blog.

The case which was presented was that of Reed A. Cartwright, a postdoc geneticist at the University of Georgia. In March 2005, Mr. Cartwright posted his random thoughts on a mutant plant gene on his blog.

Fast forward a half year.

Luca Comai, a plant geneticist, contacts Mr. Cartwright after reading his post. The researcher said that he had coincidentally arrived at the same hypothesis offered by Mr. Cartwright, and that he was about to publish his research in Plant Cell. Comai said he felt obligated to acknowledge Mr. Cartwright’s blog post and offered to make him a co-author of his article. Mr. Cartwright, who is not a plant geneticist, accepted the offer.

One question that tenure trackers will likely ask is how one will capture this quality indicator metric? Bloggers citing peer-review research is being captured, but how about peer-review scholarly research that cites a blog? Will ISI Web of Science begin to capture blog citations? Sphere: Related Content

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