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Harper Adams University professor’s paper published in Royal Science journal

Posted 11 October

"I hope that this paper will make people realise there are different types of blogs and try to help them realise the differences and how to identify them."

Professor of entomology Simon Leather has co-authored a paper about the value and impact of academic blogging on the academic community which has just been published in Royal Society Open Science.

Professor Leather said: “Blogs are no longer simply online personal journals. In this paper we define an overlooked category of blogs that holds immense value for the scientific community: science community blogs which are written by practising scientists for scientists.

“I worked with a group of other academics who are also active bloggers to author this paper. We showed with data from all of our blogs that science community blogs are a valuable outreach and professional development tool.

“Blogs are also a citable primary source with potential to contribute to scientific knowledge.

“We think that it’s time for blogs to be accepted as a standalone medium with huge benefits for individual scientists and the science community as a whole.

“I’ve been blogging for about four years. I think it’s really worthwhile; I can see a lot of benefits coming out of it.

“I came up with the idea of trying to show what some of these benefits are, and that scientific blogs are researched enough to be referenced in academic papers.”

To create the paper, Professor Leather worked with academics who are also current bloggers in the UK, Sweden, the USA, Canada and Australia.

“We all pulled out statistics from our blogs which we then analysed. We also produced examples of how blog posts have been turned into papers and articles and also referenced in academic papers.

“The paper which we produced has been published by the Royal Society for their journal Open Science. It’s had the best feedback I’ve ever received for a paper; it’s really nice to have such glowing reviews.

“I hope that this paper will make people realise there are different types of blogs and try to help them realise the differences and how to identify them. This for example includes looking at the authors and integrity of the referencing.”

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