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September 24, 2007

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Dainius from Lithuania

I am just starting to dig into scholarly work on blogging for my phd., but it seems there is general trend in political and filter (providing mainly links to other sites) blogs to be written by white, highly educated males living in US.

But articles finding this trend is based on 2004-2005 data.

robertdfeinman

Two comments:
1. "I will not reveal the results of that exercise,..."

Why not? The only conclusion to be drawn is that the results put much of the faculty in a bad light.

2. You don't explain your methodology in detail, but I've observed that what passes for "scholarly" publication in economics differs from what is expected in other fields. Specifically there is a great deal of non-refereed material published. To my mind this should not be given the same weight as work that has been properly vetted. Even refereed material seems to have problems since there seems to be some partisanship at work in various journals as to what gets accepted. Papers that go against the journal's ideology get refused.

I did some professional work on citation analysis at one time and there are many pitfalls. In highly specialized areas the number of links tend to be very small, but they are all highly relevant. In other areas people all tend to cite some key papers, but the connection is rather weak and the citations are mostly padding or acknowledging the history of the discipline.

What this all means is that counting the number of times a paper is cited doesn't tell you much about its relevance.

As to the connection to blogging, it has been my observation that the more scholarly and fact-based a blog entry is, the less traffic it generates. Blogging is the electronic version of standing on a soap box. Rhetoric and timeliness are favored more than well reasoned postings. Bloggers who can provide reassurance to their adherents are also favored. People don't like their beliefs challenged and gravitate to sites where their views are supported.

ZH

There is one well known female economics blogger, Megan McArdle, although she is not an academic economist with a PhD. However, there is Lynne Kiesling of Northwestern (Knowledge Problem) if you are looking for an academic. Still, two female econ bloggers is a very small percentage of econ blogs.

Idaho_Spud

Scholarship and informational and/or writing style for entertainment value are not one and the same.

anonymous

Most status rendering research in academia has nothing to do with anything that would show up in an Op-Ed piece, not to mention a blog. And I'd even say that _most_ status rendering research done by economists or Kennedy schooers has little to do with the genuine advancement of social science -- and contributes little of practical value in terms of general knowledge. Most economics involves further development of degenerate research programs, i.e. failed science. And research shows that most of it is little read or never read again after 5 years or so.


>>My hypothesis was that if we were doing our job right those who wrote the most op-eds would be also the most prolific scholars. Otherwise what authority would the op-eds really have?<<

anonymous

Most status rendering research in academia has nothing to do with anything that would show up in an Op-Ed piece, not to mention a blog. And I'd even say that _most_ status rendering research done by economists or Kennedy schooers has little to do with the genuine advancement of social science -- and contributes little of practical value in terms of general knowledge. Most economics involves further development of degenerate research programs, i.e. failed science. And research shows that most of it is little read or never read again after 5 years or so.


>>My hypothesis was that if we were doing our job right those who wrote the most op-eds would be also the most prolific scholars. Otherwise what authority would the op-eds really have?<<

Craig M. Newmark

There seem to be some gross errors in the data. (I downloaded your spreadsheet at 12:10 p.m. Eastern, 9/24.)

Two examples:

There are 14 entries in the "Years" column greater than or equal to 85 (including one, for George Borjas, at an astounding 291 years).

There are 10 authors listed as having more than 300 papers, including you, Professor Rodrik, at 820. (And how does Posner rank only fourth? I don't believe it.)

I was going to complain about being omitted--my blog, Newmark's Door, has been ranked around 44th for at least several weeks--but given these apparent errors, I'm not as upset. :-)

Craig M. Newmark

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I've always wondered whether high profile academic bloggers (this one excepted, of course) get help from their graduate students in writing their blogs, or coming up with ideas. Those higher profile academic bloggers also likely have more graduate students available to them. Plus working on a blog entry is probably a nice distraction to working on a thesis ...

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Stephen Gordon

Huh. For some reason, you weren't able to get any information about my publications. I do have some. Really.

Anne-Wil Harzing

Hi,

The years field in the Publish or Perish software refers to the number of years an academic has been active (years since first publication).

This can be incorrect for at least three reasons:

1. There is more than once academic publishing under the same name and the person doing the analysis with PoP has not separated them.

2. Some references to the academic's work are incorrect (typos or other mistakes) and refer to the wrong year.

3. Google Scholar's automatic parsing mechanism has parsed the year field incorrectly and lists another number as the year.

Please note that whilst no. 3 is Google Scholar specific, problems 1 and 2 occur with fee-based databases such as Web of Science and Scopus as well.

For more information about the various metrics and possible inaccuracies, please read the extensive PoP help file.

For a comparison of Google Scholar and Web of Science, please see my white paper "Reflections on Google Scholar"

http://www.harzing.com/pop_gs.htm

Barkley Rosser

If one is an outlier, does this mean that one should publish less (or at least get cited less) or blog more (or better)?

Chris Jeffords

Given my time constraint(s), I do not have the resources to grind out what I would like to with this fairly simple data set. However, I have a few ideas which may prove meaningful in this context. First, minimize the errors in the data as pointed out in previous posts. Then create a reliable data set with accurate information relative to papers, citations, etc. and begin:

a. Isolate the cases where there is more than one author to a blog. Then, controlling for academic institution, analyze the relationship between authors of the same blog relative to papers, citations, and number of authors per paper. The quality of the papers in this case is also an issue one would have to control for as well as the number of years a given author has had available to publish. There are many implications this line of analysis could yield.
b. Do the same as in (b), but allow academic institution to vary. Compare to the results found in (b).
c. Consider each blog as an entity and combine (obtain) the data on a per blog basis rather than per author. Do some more analysis.
d. Combine (obtain) the data by academic institution. Again, do some more analysis.

That is all I can think of for now – good post.

-Chris

Paul Turpin

I have been making the argument (in admittedly small parochial circles) that blogging, op-eds, etc., should definitely count towards promotion and tenure, but they should count as service, as in *public* service, rather than as research. Service, alas, has little weight, especially public service, but I admire those who do it nevertheless. If for no other reason, than that they find the time for it! So it helps to be tenured, sayeth one who is not (yet).

Paul Turpin

Andrew Leigh

Neat exercise. Why don't you come back to the data in a year, and ask the question "do economist bloggers publish more in the period before they start blogging than the period after they start blogging?".

Incidentally, I can't help noticing that your spreadsheet has me publishing for 31 years. I think I must have done my best work at age 4.

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