A Question Related to Academic Publishing

When I began my academic career I vowed that I would never buy into the “publish or perish” mindset.  In somewhat of a retrospect view, perhaps that was not the best idea I have ever had.

It has been some time since I published any chemistry educational research but then again I haven’t done research either.  That’s the conundrum that one faces when one is in a teaching situation.  When the emphasis of the institution is on teaching, research is not often possible.  And research is what is needed in order to publish research-oriented manuscripts.

But I haven’t left the area of chemical education; just haven’t written much about it in professional journals  or done any serious writing.

That is not to say that I haven’t done any writing or considered what is happening in the area of chemical education. I serve as a reviewer for the Journal of Chemical Education and I reviewed a textbook for Physical Sciences Educational Review in 2003.  I also had a piece on science education published by Energion Publications (“A Not So Modest Proposal”, Energion Publications)

I have written a number of posts that deal with science education, the topic of academic freedom and the relationship between science and religion (generally speaking they are listed under the chemistry category).  The only problem is that they are posted on my blog, not in an academic journal.  And that poses the question – “Can one list on their vita or publications list items that have been posted to their personal blog?”

A second question would necessarily have to be “Does the posting of a piece on one’s blog or any blog for that matter allow for peer-review?”

When Marcin Paprzycki and I wrote our series of research papers on the nature of computer networks and their impact in the classroom we foresaw the development of electronic journals.  What we did not foresee (nor did anyone that I am aware of)was the development of the blog as a communication tool.  If the essence of science includes publication, then we have to consider how documents that one posts on the Internet as a blog post are treated in one professional career.

Having said that and knowing that quite a few people use the piece “An Assignment on Academic and Scientific Integrity”, should it be listed on my publications list?

Should there be a second list of those publications that are more related to my discussion of science and religion and the interface between the two?  And in this day and age where science and religion are treated as “enemies”, should I even discuss the fact that I live and breath in both worlds?


2 thoughts on “A Question Related to Academic Publishing

  1. Before I being my comments, I should note that I am a ‘young’ educator pretty steeped in the world of the internet. I’m sure that more seasoned educators and researchers steeped in the current model might disagree with my perspective.

    In my view, the whole point of academic and peer-reviewed publications is to communicate and disseminate information among peers. It once was most efficient to do that by letter, and then by journal; but now the internet has seriously mitigated the need for a professional go-between publication for scientists (and educators) to transmit this kind of information.

    Some advantages to the direct dissemination or internet post publication include eliminating the publication waiting period, the elbowing out of good papers by the mass of submissions, and editor/reviwer/publication bias.

    Obviously, one of the disadvantages is that it’s difficult to do quality control – we’ve seen that already in other areas of the internet (YouTube) – but the lack of complete quality control does not mean that good material does not come out of this medium. Additionally, the use of ratings systems and general moderators can help mitigate this disadvantage.

    Another disadvantage is location spread, where it’s easier to access quality information all in one place than by skipping all over the internet. It may be that a centralized location for posts and discussion, coupled with the ability to post publication-like material in a special section or via a different button would work as well. In this respect I envision something like Chemed-L but in a forum-like setting and with the ability of certain members to post in a ‘publication’ section or make a ‘publication post’ within a section that is briefly reviewed/moderated before going through, and allowed to be commented on/posted on immediately.

    I really believe that (along with electronic journals), new online media for publication-like quality posts and scholarly work has a place, and that, as an example, Tony should definitely list the “Assignment on Academic and Scientific Integrity” in his CV. As a user of this document myself, I can say that it (among other things published on the Chemed-L listserv) has been more transformative to my classroom than the JCE has. And that’s the point, really. That’s exactly what publication was originally about. To me, the only question that remains is where should he put it and how he should reference it.

    Mary Alvarez
    Salt Lake Community College

  2. Pingback: “A Second Question Related To Academic Publishing” | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left

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