The question posed to scholarly bloggers: “Has the Time Come to Archive, Discover, and Cite Scholarly Blogs?” was a definitive “yes.” The panel discussion, moderated by Pat Sabosik, General Manager of the ACI Scholarly Blog Index, was held during the 2017 annual meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing.  ACI Scholarly Blog Index is a publication of the ACI Information Group which also publishes Newstex News & Commentary, a collection of blogs focused on finance, economics, law, and politics.

Panel participants included Alberto Accomazzi, the Project Director of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System (ADS) project at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Michael Pregill, the Interlocutor in the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations at Boston University and involved with the Mizan Initiative; Yohan John, a Researcher at Boston University Neural Systems Laboratory; and Alice Meadows, Director of Community Engagement and Support for ORCID. 

Michael Pregill talked about the Mizan Project, a “digital initiative dedicated to encouraging informed public discourse and interdisciplinary scholarship on the culture and history of Muslim societies…”   Mizan is also a digital scholarship platform that includes three channels. There is an active blog section dealing with contemporary Muslim cultural topics, for example, Pregill’s review essay, “Shahab Ahmed’s What Is Islam? As Disciplinary Critique Charting a Way Forward for Islamic Studies.” Mizan’s Pop channel features articles on Muslim pop culture with a strong academic focus. The key publication of Mizan, and the third channel, is the Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, a biannual, peer reviewed, open access journal of Islamic Studies, published under a Creative Commons license. Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, houses the Mizan Project. Pregill stated that the blog format is a good way for scholars to discuss ideas and reach a broad audience with those ideas and insights. The Mizan blog posts, popular commentary and journal articles will be archived and citation activity is increasing as the platform attracts more scholars.

Yohan John is a neuroscientist and researcher at the Neural Systems Laboratory, Sargent College, at Boston University and is both an active researcher and an active blogger. John describes his research focus: “I study the expression and modulation of emotion in neural circuits that center on the amygdala. My work aims to bridge the gap between artificial neural networks and real neuroanatomy.” In his blogging activities, John writes about Neoroscience in an accessible way for a broad audience as well researchers. His blog, Neorologisms: Readings and Musings from the Brain Science Continuum features blog posts on topics John gleans from answering questions about the brain and brain science on Quora where he is a frequent contributor. Adept at using social media, John recently received recognition from Quora for his contributions. John also writes long-form essays for the blog, 3 Quarks Daily, an aggregation site of articles about science and contemporary affairs. John blogs to both hone his writing skill and build a professional digital reputation. His blog posts will be archived and his more formal research is cited in the academic literature. He is a strong proponent of citing and archiving scholarly blogs.

The Astrophysics Data System (ADS) is a NASA-funded project which provides discovery services for scholarly content in Astronomy & Physics and the project is housed at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  Alberto Accomazzi, the project director, explained that the ADS has 12 million records and most of these records are from traditional publications. ADS has recently started indexing non-traditional content and is considering including scholarly blogs in its collection. Accomazzi analyzed the index and found that scholarly blogs do get mentioned in the body of text, both in refereed and non-refereed articles.  Blogs also play a role in teaching and disseminating highly technical information, for example in the blog Astrobites. Accomazzi presented a slide showing incidence where blogs are mentioned in more traditional publications. This is encouraging news for scholarly bloggers as they write for recognition and to have their blogs cited and archived.

One thing all the panelists have in common is an ORCID identifier, a persistent digital identifier that identifies and disambiguates authors. Alice Meadows, Director of Community Engagement and support for ORCID  presented the organization’s vision: to see “a world where all who participate in research, scholarship, and innovation are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions and affiliations across time, disciplines, and borders.” This is an important initiative for the scholarly community and a great undertaking.  To this end, ORCID is developing workflow and synchronize the authors/identifiers with publishers, employers, and research funders. The work ORCID does promotes discoverability and accurate citations. Here is a slide from Meadow’s presentation showing the workflow for publishers and how the identifiers can be synchronized with employers and funders.

The ACI Information Group is an ORCID partner and the ACI editors search for and display an author’s ORCID identifier when discovered.  ACI uses the link to connect to an author’s journal articles and present their scholarly blogs and more formal research publications together. Read more about ACI and ORCID in this recent blog post about blogs and the scholarly record.

The ACI panel discussion at the SSP annual meeting was a lively discussion about the growing importance of blogs in scholarly communications and ACI was pleased to bring a small selection of our authors and partners together to affirm that the time has indeed come to discover, cite, and archive scholarly blogs.