Academic writing and publishing online

This is a metablog: a short blog post about blogging, a blog that links to other blogs, and it links to a PDF that is a print friendly collation of a selection of other blogs on the subject of blogging — from this site. That’s not unusual.

I ran a workshop yesterday called “Developing a writing and publishing strategy in the age of the Internet” for PhD students, sponsored by Edinburgh University’s Institute for Academic Development (IAD). Some of the attendees were seasoned bloggers, and highlighted the challenge of keeping up to date with all their various online “personas” and channels (, WordPress, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, institutional websites, etc.).

These networked nodes have to be interlinked and be consistent with one another. Or do they? I suspect that readers have learned to expect some chaos in the medium. Net surfers depend increasingly on search engines to show them the latest, the most relevant, and the most authoritative version of online content. Do we trust Google to do this for us?

I think that online media bring into relief the characteristics of all writing: texts are heavily self referential, cross referenced, interlinked, repetitive, redundant, prone to revision, and subject to practices of checking, cross checking and testing for trustworthiness.

Here are some interesting and trustworthy blogs and personal websites by PhD students at the workshop


I’m encouraged to put the slides from the workshop online by Tim Hitchcock’s interesting blog post: Doing it in public: Impact, blogging, social media and the academy, in which he states, “The best (and most successful) academics are the ones who are so caught up in the importance of their work, so caught up with their simple passion for a subject, that they publicise it with every breath.” He also advocates for early career researchers to start “building a form of public dialogue in to their academic practice.”

Here are the slides and extra material as a PDF from yesterday’s IAD workshop. You may need to save the file and open it in a PDF reader to activate the links.




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