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09/20/2016

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Dilemma

Joshua,
I want to present a dilemma (of sorts) that draws attention to the problem with giving any consideration to blogging for promotion, tenure, etc.
First some qualifications. No one at a Research University is going to get tenure or a promotion on the basis of their blogging.
So if blogging matters, it can only matter to non-research institutions.
Now, if someone at such a place has publications in peer reviewed journals, that is what will secure their tenure and promotions. The blogging is just something else, but of little or no consequence.
Alternatively if someone at such a place does not have any refereed publications, or few such publications, then the blogging surely should not make up for their shortcoming in scholarship.

Joshua Mugg

Dilemma-

Your dilemma leaves open the possibility that blogging on research, when it is of a sufficient quality, might tip the scale in borderline cases. I agree that at an R1 (or anywhere for that matter) blogging will not serve as a substitute for peer-reviewed articles. Nor should it! However that is because of rigor and quality rather than type of content. Conference presentations count for something in P&T, just not as much as publications. No one is going to get tenure because they did a conference presentation at some small local conference, but it should still count for something. Blogging that is research in type might count somewhere below conference presentations.

Note also that blogs do come in different varieties of rigor. The blog my colleague contributes to has an editor and their posts are referenced in some of Pearson’s intro to sociology materials.

Shane

I see blogging as on par with publishing in pop culture and philosophy collections. It might be considered a contribution to the service requirement for tenure, but not research. It is a form of public engagement and that's service, not research (though blogging and writing for pop culture and philosophy collections admittedly can and often do involve research).

As an aside, my blog was shut down by my institution when a piece I wrote criticizing the institution was published on Truthout.org. And I have tenure! So much for academic freedom and the protection of tenure. So be careful what you wish for. Sometimes I would like my institution to pay less attention to what I write for non-academic audiences.

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