Academic blogs

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Do I really have to blog?

Blogs provide researchers with unique opportunities to present their work to a new, larger audience. Blogging actually has many advantages for scholars, such as

  • Learning to express yourself more clearly and to become a better writer
  • Or that more people will read the academic publications
  • Blogging can support interdisciplinary exchange
  • And blogging is much faster than an academic publication

 

Here are a few tips for academic bloggers:

  1. You don’t need your own blog. Multi-author-blogs often have a wider audience as they benefit from the variety of topics offered by the different authors.
  1. A blog post is a publication. If you are writing about ongoing research that has not yet been published, be sure not to publish important details prematurely.
  1. Use social media to draw attention to your contributions.
  1. Refer to your relevant publications in your blog posts.
  1. Use a short (for Twitter, for example) but meaningful title for your blog post.
  1. Tell the most important stuff first (since the attention span for reading a blog entry is much lower than for reading an academic article).
  1. It should always be clear who the author of a blog post is (this is not always evident in some multi-author-blogs). Include a short biography with university affiliation and e-mail address as well as a photo at the end of the post.
  1. If possible, archive a copy of your contribution in a research repository, so that it can be found and listed in academic databases.

 

Here is a list of academic multi-author-blogs (MABs) for African Studies:

  • Africa in Words: Focus on African literatures. Edited by Kate Haines, Rebecca Jones, Katie Reid, Stephanie Santana.
  • Africa is a Country: a platform to question the media presentation of Africa. Edited by Sean Jacobs.
  • Africa at LSE: supports Africa research at the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as contributions from other scholars. Edited by Syerramia Willoughby.
  • African Arguments: contemporary African history and politics. From the Royal African Society and World Peace Foundation and part of the Guardian Africa Network.
  • ASA Blog: Blog of the American African Studies Association, Rutgers University.
  • Democracy in Africa: information and analysis on African elections and politics. Edited by SJ Cooper Knock and Nic Cheeseman.

 

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