Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, October 27, 2005

More on academic blogging

Bourree Lam, Blogging opens new medium for academics, Chicago Maroon, October 25, 2005. (Thanks to Issues in Scholarly Communication.) Excerpt:
Nobel laureate Gary Becker and federal judge Richard Posner, both law professors, launched the high-profile Becker-Posner blog less than a year ago. With two such distinguished academics aboard the blog bandwagon, the question of whether blogging is legitimate academic work and outreach becomes unclear. Becker, who blogs about five hours a week, feels that if blogging takes a lot of time then it will surely interfere with scholarly academic achievements: “Blogs are at best good op-ed pieces,” Becker said. “They are not substitutes for scholarship and research.” His co-blogger, Posner, had similar sentiments. “I think it’s a professional mistake for an untenured academic to do a blog,” Posner said. “It is not academic writing, and it takes time away from academic writing, which should be the entire focus of the untenured in what is currently a highly competitive academic market.” Perhaps blogging is a luxury only for the tenured. Recently, the [U of Chicago] Law School launched its own faculty blog geared toward high-end legal and intellectual content, which is meant as an interactive page rather than a standard blog. “We are in the business of spreading new ideas, and provoking readers,” Saul Levmore, dean of the Law School, said. “A blog seems like an excellent means of advancing this mission.” The question of academic blogging really depends on what kind of blog you keep. “Our blog is not gossipy or informal,” Becker said. Rather, the Becker-Posner blog is an attempt at serious dialogue on important current issues.