The fellows of my learning community have been revisiting our commitment to disseminating the expertise that we share and cultivate within our group. This week, conversations have begun around the purpose of publication, the process itself, and whether or not the work that is shared within blog posts and in other online venues can be as credible as the stuff of peer-reviewed publications.
In most cases, I’ll admit, I don’t think it can be. That said, I don’t see it as any less valuable. It’s just different.
Some would say that if someone has already established themselves as an authority in the field by finding their work accepted by a peer-reviewed publication, the credibility of the work that they self-publish and/or share online improves as well. If the writer’s purpose is to establish or maintain this sort credibility, I would assume that publishing in a peer-reviewed venue would be a better choice. However, one could also argue that publishing online allows the writer with the expertise to reach a potentially wider and better-targeted audience in a much more timely manner. What credibility looks like and how it is achieved seems to be shifting a bit, I’m realizing. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Is it okay to cast a wide net and inform an audience if what we are saying hasn’t been subjected to the standards that traditional publishing processes impose on the work? I’m not sure, but I can say this: I’m questioning that often lately.
I use my blog to share the expertise that I have with the teachers that I coach. They are invited to share their expertise as well. In fact, one purpose of a blog is to generate conversation wherein this exchange of information and the shaping and reshaping of thinking can occur. Does that make the writing that is shared in this space less valuable? Or does it make it different?
What are educators looking for when they read peer-reviewed publications? What are they seeking in spaces like these? What is the purpose of each type of writing, and how can thinking about that inform our decisions as writers seeking a venue for publication?
One fellow asked today, “is it necessary to suffer in order to publish?”
I won’t tell you what the response was.