A recent study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that the the majority of academic chairs did not believe that blogging enhanced favorability for promotion.
If I were handed the survey I would have said, show me the bloggers body of work and I’ll tell you if it enhances favorability of promotion. To think of any form of media or platform of knowledge dissemination as categorically unworthy of advancing scholarship is no different from suggesting that journal publications, irrespective of what they say or where they’re published, enhance promotion.
New channels and spaces of knowledge distribution are beginning to force the question of what constitutes contribution to the public good. Consequently, how we define scholarship will evolve to meet the realities of how humans now build knowledge. I predict that this issue of value determination will emerge as a major preoccupation of organizations and academic institutions going forward.
When I began to blog in 2006 there was no part of me that wondered whether it would facilitate promotion. The idea of pushing nascent ideas into the world is what drove me. I remember just how crazy it was to first see an idea spread. I knew there was something bigger here than my own career.
While recognizing new media in scholarly circles is an inevitable consequence of a changing communication environment, we should be careful about positioning public engagement as an academic commodity. Our most powerful and original creative output as professionals comes from within. When professional promotion eclipses passion, noise will exceed signal. And we have enough of that.
More evidence that this is one of the most interesting times to be in medicine.
Image via Danor/Flickr
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