Blog on your own and blog with your publisher
to increase citation scores. This is why they should work together to
solve the problem. As I pointed out in my previous entry on this topic,
to be cited an article has to be first discovered. The discoverability
of a paper can be increased with, amongst others, search engine
optimization and academic blogging. I discussed the problem of SEO here. Now it is time to write a little bit more about academic blogging.
Academic blogging is quite a new thing and we are still lacking a
deeper understanding of this concept. Some academics are reluctant to
devote their time to the blogosphere. They usually think they have more
serious things to do, and that it is better to spend more time on
research or teaching than on writing posts. But there is growing
evidence to suggest that blogging is a very efficient tool for academic
communication, and that it also may have positive influence on career
Will a blog post about your paper increase its readership?
People who chase citations (both editors and authors) should
understand that there is a long way between readership and citation, but
citation is not possible without readership. And blogging can
significantly increase readership. This was claimed a.o. by David
McKenzie and Berk Özler in their study The Impact of Economics Blogs,
based on a sample of 94 economics papers, which were mentioned on
economics blogs. They found that being mentioned on blog usually results
in a huge increase in the number of views and downloads for a paper.
The study examined the impact of popular, well known blogs, dealing with
economics, so we cannot assume that results would be similar for other
fields and in the case of regular blogs. But we can try to understand
what possible mechanism of blogging can influence the readership of an
First of all, more and more researchers today use Internet search
engines in their work; to search for some publications they already
know, to quickly verify information, or sometimes to find more sources
of information. And in some cases blog entries about an article or a
book might be easier to find on the Internet than the article itself.
Especially, very well known blogs, with good domain names, which are
well ranked by searching bots.
Secondly, some academic blogs have big networks of readers, who are
sometimes researchers themselves, and who read them frequently to keep
up to date with all current discussions. And to be honest, the average
readership of an academic article is very low, and in many cases it is
much lower than for a good blog post. Thus, one good blog post about an
article may generate a huge increase in the number of views and
downloads of the paper. Of course these downloads will not automatically
trigger citations, but in some cases the blog post may bring your
article to the relevant audience, which will be likely to cite your work
in the future.
Start your own blog and/or cooperate with existing ones
Of course it is not easy to gain significant readership for a new
blog. Starting a blog itself will take you less than hour, but getting
the right readership needs months of regular work, and a little bit of
luck. Regardless of whether or not you have already started this work,
writing a guest post for more established blogs is always a good idea.
It may bring attention to your work (and to your blog if you already
have one) from a large group of people.
Almost all academics publishers at this moment run blogs, which are designed to stimulate discussion among researchers (like De Gruyter Open
runs the Open Science dot com Blog). These blogs are a good point to
start your blogging adventure, or to attract to a new audience to your
work. So you should not be surprised when a journal or book editor
offers you the option of writing a guest post for the company blog to
publicize your research, or to just discuss some problem that you have
faced during your research. This might be a good opportunity. If your
editor has not mentioned this option, do not be discouraged. If you have
an idea for a guest post to be published on a publisher’s blog, ask the
editors what they think about it.
A blog post usually needs less work to be published than an academic
article, so you can start blogging about your research project long
before you publish a paper which summarizes it. The blog (a personal
one, the one belonging to your publisher, or the one managed by your
university or a group of researchers working in your field) might be a
place for valuable discussion, which may have a positive influence on
every stage of your work. You can write about partial results, about
methods, about problems and about your work flow and research team
organization issues. This will make your work more open, more
interesting and more attractive to both the general public and your
peers. It may help you to gain citations and recognizability in your
field and without a doubt it will be useful for a lot of people to read a
little about your work.
Image: Émile Friant Political Discussion 1889. This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.
Blog on your own and blog with your publisher | Open Science