Should Blogs Count for Tenure? (and, Nijay adds, PHD and job applicatons?)

Mark Goodacre just posted his thoughts on this at his ntgateway.com/weblog.  He is basically responding to someone who thinks that academic blogging should have little to no affect on tenure decision.  Goodacre thinks it can be a useful factor if the blog is a reasonable service to others and a successful way of getting criticism and feedback on one’s work in a webworld kind of way.

Goodacre hints that he thinks academic blogging could also give  a boost to a student applying for a PHD – it shows enthusiasm, and (I think) a bit of networking.  If a professor can go look at your blog (which is on your resume or application), she can learn loads more about you than the application form shows – this could be very good if your blog is both interesting and critically engaging.  So for those who blog on academic things (reviews, latest issues, discussions, etc…), your blog may be doing good for you in ways you had not thought about.

Now I think Goodacre is being progressive in a way that many professors (and I fear many Brits) don’t especially get excited about.  But, for those who do understand the help that blogs are to others (and oneself), it is surely a boon.

Of course Goodacre would think of blogs as a helpful factor for tenure, being the grandmaster of biblioblogs, but I think he has a good point.

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4 thoughts on “Should Blogs Count for Tenure? (and, Nijay adds, PHD and job applicatons?)

  1. It certainly IS a progressive idea, but it’s a very good one. Publishing is publishing, and anyone who has lived through a trial by fire in the comments section can easily pass a formal peer review. Look at Pharyngula: he brings enormous value to his school by being a top 500 blogger.

  2. It may not be a great source for tenure points, but I would say that it could potentially help for applications. If you think about it, there aren’t really that many biblioblogs out there. So it shows that you are able to integrate new media in order to communicate ideas. But that does raise the stakes about what you post if you are going to put it on the CV. That is, poor posting (as in content) could work against you.

    RE: The tenure deal, you’d have to have some kind of criteria to judge the blog. Maybe the average number of readers? You would think there would be a correlation between the quality and the number of readers.

  3. Ben et al.,
    I agree, a criteria would help – but I don’t think number of hits is reliable. I check Mark Goodacres site a few times a day. Someone else might check his site 10 times a day (ya never know!). So, he may have (though probably not) 50 readers that are obsessive. On the other hand, it wouldn’t hurt to have a high hit count. On the other end, if people are using feeds, I don’t if all blogsites count that as hits. Lets say most people start using feeds, wouldn’t this seriously reduce someone’s hits if the feed does not direct people to the webpage? I don’t know. Hmmm….

  4. I know wordpress has something that supposedly keeps up with feed subscriptions. But if I’m the only one who has access to that info, self-reporting becomes an issue. I’m sure by the time there came an standards with it, there will be so many people blogging that the uniqueness will be devauled. Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath. But the whole idea of networking through it is, I think, a big plus for me, as I’ll be soon applying for jobs! If anything, a handful of somebodies out there have heard of my name.

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