A couple of months ago I had the idea of writing a blog post on why academics do not blog on EU politics. Somehow, due to time constraints, the idea never made it into a proper blog post. Suddenly the topic became interesting again as I found out about “Ideas on Europe”, a new EU blog platform that will be launched later this year with an academic focus:
Ideas on Europe aims to invigorate current discussion on Europe by providing an impartial, unbiased online platform where individuals can engage in informed analysis, comment, dialogue and debate.
The organisation behind the projects is the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES) a membership organisation with “over 1300 academics, practitioners and research students”. The aim is to get UACES members to contribute to the new platform. At the moment the new page (beta!) is pretty basic and not much content can be found (except a post by nosemonkey), they are in the process of recruiting bloggers (or better: motivating academics!) to open a blog on Ideas on Europe. So if you are interested, you can apply here.
In my opinion, the idea behind Ideas on Europe is quite good: Providing the (missing) link between academics working on EU topics and the public. However, working in (EU-) academia myself it could be quite difficult to get scholars to blog and read blogs regularly.
First obstacle: Among academics the knowledge of blogs and web 2.0 is not as widespread as one would assume. (= not worth trying)
Second obstacle: Blogs (not EU blogs – nobody knows them!) are often regarded as second class media. (= not worth reading)
Third obstacle is a sentence you will hear a lot in universities: “I only publish in peer reviewed journals – only this is useful for my academic career.” (= not useful)
It is really necessary to address these three (possibly more) obstacles in order to get an academic audience. I hope UACES will also manage to motivate enough scholars to blog regularly about their research (in a readable style!). Only if they manage to get a critical amount of (new) bloggers and a (new) audience the platform will be successful. Another danger is academics who will only post the abstracts of their journal articles on the platform (or even the whole article…). Publishing posts with ”call for papers’ and ‘conference announcements’ will also not do the trick…
As a bloggingportal editor (and a feedreader addict!) I hope cross-posting bloggers will be in the minority. (so, UACES please check babelblogs and blogactiv before admitting bloggers!).