Extra Credit

My favorite comic of all time

Last year at Science Online 2011, as we discussed the role of blogging in scientific outreach, the topic of academic "credit" for blogging arose. Mostly junior participants lamented that blogging would never be taken seriously until full professors had it on their CVs.

I went back and added a section of online activities to my own CV. As one of those full professors, I felt it was the least I could do.

Earlier this week Kate Clancy wrote about her upcoming 3-year review, including the difficulty the committee will have discussing her blog:

It doesn’t help that “blog” doesn’t sound very academic (oh, if only I had thought to call this the Context and Variation Monograph). And it doesn’t help that this writing isn’t just for scholars, but for everybody. That’s not because non-blogging academics don’t see the point of interacting with the public, but because this particular way of doing it is so strange to them. This isn’t a radio interview, or a book, or a talk at the local library, but a style of writing where the jargon is not academic but from the internet. We talk in ALL CAPS, we use emoticons and use extra exclamation points!!1!!1

WhizBANG! Letters...hmmmm...

She goes on to outline the virtues of blogging for a junior faculty member, including building networks, public outreach, improved writing skills, and even (gasp!) scholarship. I suspect a number of us bloggers do not really get our thoughts organized until we write them down (that's why there is a huge whiteboard in my office), and playing with a new idea in cyberspace can generate valuable feedback from a great audience. Blogging about academic works increases the audience substantially; I hope that mainstream journals can eventually embrace this robust discussion as part of the post-publication review of work.

So back to January. As a full prof, my CV did not really get examined by anyone last spring. This week I found out that I have to undergo tenure review for my new employer, and my CV must be completely rearranged. I prepared a draft, including my posts for Scientific American and Biocareers as non-refereed publications, complete with hyperlinks. I also listed my project, Academic Women for Equality Now, as an "Other" activity. [Yes, this blog got left off, mostly because it includes any shiny thing that catches my eye, especially shoes. I cannot classify my thoughts on fashion, including bottle sweaters, as any sort of academic activity.]

Our departmental reviewer got back to me with a bunch of red pixels, none of which landed on these posts. She told me to put AWEnow into my national service section. No comments about these being inappropriate activities for academic credit.

I still have work to do on my packet before it goes to full review. There is still a chance that someone will snub my online work, but so far, so good.

Anyone else out there counting their online efforts as academic work?

5 responses so far

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Ok, ok, I have listed the blogging in this context on at least one occasion. It was linked, however, to a deeper and longer running strategy to bring these kinds of activities under the existing academic credit umbrella.

  • Zen Faulkes says:


    Nobody's ever batted an eyelash over me talking about blogging into my annual reviews, tenure documents, and the like.

    I've claimed blogging for merit points for service. I've various awards for blogging for professional achievement.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    Back in the day, a new Full Prof basically received tenure from the gitgo. It was a matter that tenure decision for a full prof was made after one year. A no tenure decision had to be given one year before termination. So, a full prof would have to receive a no tenure decision on being hired. You might check out how things are done at your new job.

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