[ Question ]

Should it be a research paper or a blog post?

by Sherrinford1 min read24th Sep 20209 comments


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The answer to this question may seem obvious to some, but let's see.


My impression is that some people write long blog posts about things that they perceive as innovative new ideas in philosophy, AI research, or whatever. So how do you decide that your idea should be a blogpost (here or on some other site) instead of submitting it to a journal?

Is the university research system just too closed? Or do you think it is superfluous?

Or do you think that you can do it faster for a blog? (This may not be unambiguously good. My impression is that there is less literature research for some blog articles than I would like to see, which often creates noise.)

Or do you want to have feedback for a blogpost first and submit later?

(Note that the question can be generalized to other media and forms, e.g. magazine essay vs. journal article.)

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4 Answers

I think my most innovative posts have been in the fields of epidemiology and phenomenological psychology.

I’m pretty sure they’re innovative, in that the specific ideas don’t have an equivalent research article floating around out there. But they shouldn’t be published, because they lack the unambiguous clarity and reputation-staking that a research article is meant to convey. I didn’t go for that because of lack of know-how, lack of confidence, perceived barriers to academic publication that I mostly think are good, the fact that I didn’t want to put in the work, and that I mostly wrote them for me and for this community.

I really think we have something special going on here. It’s not perfect, but it’s unusual.

I use blogposts to explore new ideas, improve my writing and publish intermediary ideas. At first articles were difficult for me because no one will read bad articles and give you feedback on your writing/ideas. But people are happy to read a blogpost and provide criticism. But my incentives professionally to blog are much lower than my incentives to produce articles.

A paper.

People reading your blog and providing advice would probably want to keep reading it and style their commentary to accommodate that desire. People referring to your paper in some way / including it into their own introduction or discussion sections are probably going to be far less involved with you the author.