Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blogging as Serious Scholarship Revisited

I have written before about whether law blogs, especially those of an academic bent, can be considered serious scholarship.

The Law Librarian Blog today revisited the issue in a post entitled Blogging as Thinking Out Loud Sometimes. Back in 2006, when Harvard had organized a conference on "Bloggership: How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship", many academic were very sceptical about the whole idea. But Law Librarian Blog now reports that many scholars who used to be less than enthusiastic have been changing their opinion about the blog format as a source of serious intellectual work.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Harvard Blog and Legal Scholarship Conference Update (May 11, 2006): "In the past few years, blogs have begun to affect the delivery of legal education, the production and dissemination of legal scholarship, and the practice of law. We are delighted that over twenty of the nation’s leading law professor bloggers have agreed to join with us for the first scholarly conference on the impact of blogs on the legal academy."
  • More Law Journals Adding Blog Companions (April 20, 2007): "A number of law journals are now leveraging weblog technology to present information and commentary online. Some are offering online weblog 'digests' which supplement the traditional printed journal, while others are solely online. The common thread (...) is a desire for a more timely forum to comment on new developments in the journal's area of coverage"
  • Gatekeeping in Legal Scholarship in an Online Age (July 24, 2007): "Paul Horwitz, a visiting professor at the Notre Dame Law School, has recently published a paper on the open access Social Science Research Network entitled 'Evaluate Me!': Conflicted Thoughts on Gatekeeping in Legal Scholarship's New Age: «Bloggers, SSRN, and online law review supplements like this one have increasingly routed around and weakened, if not undermined, the traditional gatekeepers who certified legal scholars and their scholarship. Is this a good thing?» "
  • Is the Future of Legal Scholarship in the Blogosphere? (September 5, 2007): "That is the question asked in an article published last week in the Legal Times (...) «If you are looking for the future of legal scholarship, chances are that you may find it not in a treatise or the traditional law review but in a different form, profoundly influenced by the blogosphere (...) the legal blogosphere tends to be populated by midcareer professors who have tenure, are intimately familiar with traditional legal scholarship and see the Internet as a way to reach more readers in a less ritualized format». "
  • Should Legal Blogs Be Seen As Scholarship? (December 18, 2007): "That is the title of an article in the most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly that canvasses the opinions of various Canadian legal scholars on just where blogs fit in. According to Bruce Archibald, a law professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, blogs «are a source of ideas which would have to be acknowledged in a footnote if quoted. On the other hand, they are not peer reviewed and would not have the added cachet or weight of that status.» Philip Bryden, dean of law at the University of New Brunswick, acknowledges that blogs offer «timely publication and ease of accessibility», but adds, «During my tenure as dean ... none of my colleagues has brought their blogging activity into the scholarly assessment process at UNB, but that is not to say it will not happen in the future.» However, University of Calgary law school dean Alastair Lucas argues that blog contributions can be scholarship. The law school is creating a blog dealing with Alberta courts and tribunals and those contributions «will require theory development, synthesis, analysis and clear argumentation (...) We also expect that some blog pieces will be expanded into law review articles and the like.» "
  • More and More Blawgs Cited by Law Journals (February 3, 2008): "According to some, this reflects the fact that blogs have become a more accepted form of legal scholarship in the academy, whereas others argue that blogs have little of intellectual substance to contribute to real scholarship."
  • Webcast of Georgetown Law Library Symposium on Blogs as Legal Scholarship (August 3, 2009): "On July 25, 2009, Georgetown Law Library organized a symposium that sought to tackle 3 questions: How can quality academic scholarship reliably be discovered? How can future researchers be assured of perpetual access to the information currently available in blogs?How can any researcher be confident that documents posted to blogs are genuine?"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:06 pm


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