Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blogs Hinder Tenure?

Alane over at It's All Good posted about an article appearing in Slate called "Attack of the Career-Killing Blogs". The author, Robert S. Boynton (a non-blogger) discusses the potential affects that blogging could have on the careers of academics.

He also addresses ways in which blogs could become peer-reviewed. This is an interesting idea, and seems to be happening to some extent already. It is not yet taking the form of the highly prestigious peer-review system found in academic journals where original research is published, but peer-review does happen in other ways.

I see peer-review occurring in the form of comments left on blogs. I think one of the signs of a good blogger is his or her willingness to alter posts (and perhaps opinions) based on comments from others. Some blogs I read are constantly adding updates at the end of their posts in response to comments that have been left.

I also have a lot of difficulty believing that the professor mentioned at the beginning of Boynton's article (Daniel Drezner) failed to receive tenure because of his blogging habits. Boynton is not arguing that this is definitely the reason but he does suggest a link. Are blogs really so poorly-received in the academic world that they would have a detrimental effect on the tenure process?

If I had only finished the article before I wrote the above paragraph:
As for Daniel Drezner, you needn't worry about him. After being turned down by Chicago, he received a number of inquiries and this fall will be a tenured associate professor of international politics at Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. How did Tufts learn he was available? They read it in his blog.
What a great conclusion! And an interesting article.

As a side note: This article also mentions the Public Library of Science whose goal is to make peer-reviewed scientific and medical research freely accessible to all. I'm looking forward to checking out this site!

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