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Thursday, 14 October 2010

The problem of blogs and research journals

You may have noticed that I suddenly stopped posting my research without any explanation. It is not that I suddenly stopped working, I have been continuing to work quite hard, thank you. Its to do with the fact that over a glass of wine at one of these beginning of the new academic year mingle and be sociable events my supervisor gave me the task of writing a paper for a prestigious journal that peer reviews articles before acceptance. They not unreasonably expect original work that has not been published before. Now here is the problem. I "publish" rough and ready stuff on my blog. I had to and still having to decide what I can include in my blog that does not compromise the originality of my proposed paper. Of course the paper is a different style, it is more formal, more polished, more finished but it originates from the same brain, same data-sets, same journey. Where are the lines in the sand? Essentially it is my own integrity that is at stake here. I have to justify what I do to my self and I am sure that if persuade that judge who comes from a very puritanical background (thankfully tempered with a bit of compassion) I should be able to meet most peoples standards.

The real problem is one of timing and this where I think in this age where it is instantly possible to publish research that it is a tad unreasonable for journals to expect exclusivity unless they publish promptly. The fact is the process can be lengthy and it is not unheard of for a paper waiting two to three years before being published.

Research is a journey and my blog is a diary, yes a map of where I have been and where I am going. The argument is that I should continue but keep it to myself. I do not believe that is correct, I am publicly funded having the privilege of using data that in many respects is public, I feel that even though saying I have a duty to write a blog is overstating the case it has felt once I started that it is the right thing to do.

So my decision is I will continue to publish things as I do them and argue that the originality for journal publication is providing the rounded argument connecting different strands together in a formal and structured way. You certainly won't find any of that on this blog!!

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