Mark Goodacre calls our attention to an article in the peer-reviewed, Journal of Theological Studies that offers a “detailed critique” of one of his blog posts. The article provides an opportunity for Goodacre to reflect on the relationship between blogging and scholarship–a hot topic these days among academic bloggers. (In fact, I will be on a panel on this very topic next Spring at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians). Here is a taste of Goodacre’s reflection:
I will confess to mixed feelings. On one level, I am really flattered that Foster, and the editors of JTS, regarded my blog post of sufficient merit to warrant an extended response, and I am grateful to them, I think, for noticing my blog and regarding it so highly. On another level, I have to admit that it makes me slightly uneasy to see my random jottings here subjected to the same kind of detailed critique that one would normally reserve for scholarly books and peer-reviewed articles.
The difficulty in part may be that there is not really any established etiquette for this kind of thing. Blogs and the blogging phenomenon are still pretty young, and we don’t really know yet how they should fit into the scholarly landscape. Should we treat them like casual academic gossip, a kind of online senior common room, or is every post fair game for a full, formal response in a peer-reviewed journal?
One thing that focuses the discussion for me is to compare the status of the blog post with the status of the academic conference paper. Many scholars add a kind of rider to their conference papers, “Work in progress; not to be cited” and so on. The point there is that conference papers are for discussion at conferences but not (yet) in formal publications. I think I see something similar for blog sketches like mine — it will, I hope, eventually make its way to publication, but it does not yet have that kind of status. Indeed, in the case in question, I did subsequently present the idea in a conference paper (International SBL, London, 2011), which will form the basis of a future formal publication.
For me, the blog is something more informal, more chatty than the published paper. I write differently here from the way that I write in peer-reviewed articles. My tone is much more colloquial….
Read the rest, along with the 43 comments, here. I tend to agree with Mark here.