Forskarbloggar: Vetenskaplig kommunikation och kunskapsproduktion i bloggosfären
Sammanfattning: It is the aim of this thesis to contribute to a research-based understanding of researchers’ use of blogs as a part of scholarly communication. The following research questions guide the investigation: (1) How are scholarly blogs constructed and used as sociotechnical systems in scholarly communication? (2) Which roles do scholarly blogs play in relation to other forms of scholarly communication? (3) Which expressions of researchers’ relations to the public emerge in scholarly blogs? Four separate research articles make up the main body of the thesis. These articles report on three largely independent studies which explore different aspects of scholarly blogs. The thesis starts from the assumption that scholar’s different epistemic cultures influence and shape scholarly communication practices. It furthermore approaches scholarly communication as practice. This makes it possible to include technology as shaping and being shaped by these practices. Consequently, scholarly blogs are treated as sociotechnical systems and envisioned as shaped in an interplay between technical and social aspects. The thesis’ first study takes a bird’s eye view and investigates the landscape of academic blogs. This is achieved through a case study of the Swedish academic blogosphere which unites a content analysis and a webometric analysis. The second study draws on 11 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with researchers who are all active bloggers. It focuses in particular on the motivations these researchers have for blogging, by starting from how they describe the functions that their blogs serve in their scholarly communication practices. Finally, the third study investigates characteristics of blogging as part of scholarly communication within epistemic cultures. This study is based on a genre-theoretical approach and structured around two groups of researchers in two disciplines, Physics and History. It employs a framework for situated genre-analysis, developed specifically for analysis of blogs, which is presented in a separate article in the thesis. The studies show that the motivations for maintaining scholarly blogs are as much of a personal character – i.e. blogs are used for fostering and supporting the researcher’s work – as driven by intentions to enter into a dialogue with others. Furthermore, scholarly blogs can be treated as a new genre situated in a researcher’s particular context. In addition, blogs maintained by researchers include several communicative purposes and target groups. Scholarly blogs show that the boundaries between the research community and society at large are far less distinct than has previously been suggested. Rather, scholarly blogs amalgamate formal and informal scholarly communication and, by mediating parts of otherwise informal interactions, scholarly blogs can contribute to a new kind of knowledge production.
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