It’s all Duncan’s fault. For years I’ve known he lives in that other dimension, the parallel universe that is the Blogsphere (across the void, bit like Dr Who). Then in September 2008 he responded to the challenge to get more professors blogging by mailing some of his colleagues. In my case, Duncan’s email pushed on an open door with creaky hinges…
Subsequent discussion with colleagues suggested several possible reasons not to write a personal blog: it takes time better spent doing far more important things, blogs are just vanity publishing for arrogant people with an inflated ego, and that blogging is strategically naive because information is power and should therefore be provided only on a need-to-know basis…
But I want to. I lead a hectic (possibly crazy…) academic life where I get to work with experts in many disciplines – I get a unique, perhaps privileged, view of the world and it’s one I want to share. For example, when I’ve been in a good panel, there is information to be shared and debate to be continued too – time to blog. And from where I sit, not only do I get to see things but I get to see the connections between things – what better mechanism than a blog for communicating that interconnectedness? So for me it’s not ego, it’s duty and the appropriate tool.
And it’s part of my research – research is about connectedness and i want to understand how to achieve it. I see a compelling analogy between the informal communications of the great scientists of old – the “invisible college” communicating by letter and annotated book margin – and the emerging research practices of open science and Science 2.0. I see the benefit in understanding how the scholarly knowledge cycle can evolve, especially in the context of the shift to digital and data-centric research.
And, number 3, I enjoy writing – and communicating is surely how we will achieve the vision of joined-up-research.
Join me in the experiment that is my blog.
Dave, on a flight to LA