Blog of the seven veils

Why should academics consider blogging, and when should they band together to work on a group blog? An interview from early 2012 helps to answer those questions: "Five minutes with Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson: 'Blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now'".

But in addition, social scientists have an obligation to society to contribute their observations to the wider world and at the moment thats often being done in ramshackle and impoverished ways, in pointlessly obscure or charged-for forums, in language where you need to look up every second word in Wikipedia, with acres of dead-on-arrival data in unreadable tables, and all delivered over bizarrely long-winded timescales. So the public pay for all our research, and then we shunt back to them a few press releases and a lot of out-of-date academic junk.

This is exceptionally good advice, which made me want to link the piece even though it's from nearly a year ago:

Make sure your titles tell a story, and your findings are communicated early on. Academics normally like to build up their arguments slowly, and then only tell you their findings with a final flourish at the end. Dont do this Dance of the Seven Veils in which layers of irrelevance are progressively stripped aside for the final kernel of value-added knowledge to be revealed. Instead, make sure that all the information readers need to understand what youre saying is up front youll make a much stronger impression that way.

(via Christopher Lynn)