Part 2 of my Conversation with Firat Soylu: gnovis and the Role of Blogging in Academia

Posted in The Gnovis Blog

Firat Soylu is a doctoral candidate in Instructional Systems Technology and Cognitive Science at Indiana University Bloomington.  Here is Part 2 of my interview with him; you can find part one here.  In this interview, Firat talks about his experiences publishing  with gnovis, writing his first blog ever, and the critical role of blogging in academia:

Switching gears a bit, I’m interested in your experience publishing with gnovis.  What is it about gnovis that made you think your research would be a good fit for our journal?

gnovis is obviously a very interdisciplinary journal with high quality content. In gnovis I have read articles discussing the social and cultural implications of emerging Internet and media phenomena, like Youtube and Secondlife, from a critical perspective. This made me think that my study may fit to gnovis. In addition, I liked the fact that the journal is run by some very enthusiastic graduate students. I do not know if it is the design of the website or the people who contribute to it, probably both, but gnovis radiates energy. This is something that most academic journals lack. 

What did you value most about your experience publishing with gnovis?

Among many things, I valued most how diligently gnovis editors edited my paper. The editing was superb and improved the quality of the paper to a great extent. I would like to thank the editors from here. They did a wonderful job. I learned a lot from them. 

To close, I want to ask you a few questions about your recent blog entry—which was great by the way.  I was surprised to see, at the end, that it was your first attempt at blogging.  So, how did it go?

It was great. I was always a little bit skeptical about blogging. I think the problem was that I did not know what to write about and who will read it. In gnovis I know both. I would like to share my ideas about our use of technology, and how it affects us by incorporating some cognitive science research. gnovis has an established reader base from different universities. It is nice to know that what I wrote will be read by people from different fields, which, hopefully, may lead to an interdisciplinary discussion.  

What do you think about the practice of “academic blogging”?  Should academics have blogs?  Why or why not?

I think they should. It helps to test the waters before you jump in. What I mean is that blogging gives academics the opportunity to share ideas with an academic community, as well as the public, before these ideas are expressed in a scholarly article. With an academic blog you can test people’s reactions to certain ideas and perspectives before you conduct research on them. These reactions may help you see the issue from a perspective that you have not considered before. In addition, with an academic blog you can write about issues, which are not directly related to your academic field, but somehow you have an interest in. For example, I would love to write a critical blog about how inhumane our work environments are and how this is based on designers & architects assumptions on human cognition and what generally humans are. I am not an interior designer or an architect but an academic blog can allow me to write a semi-academic article on this issue without forcing me to review previous interior design literature and relevant paradigms. This would not have been the case in an academic journal. To publish an article in a certain field, you need to know the field. In an academic article you need to review all the previous studies conducted and views expressed on the issue. Not knowing a lot about interior design and the fact that there is probably considerable research on how offices should be designed, does not change the fact that I do not like most office environments.  In my opinion,  interior designers and architects make some assumptions about human cognition without being aware of it. An academic blog allows me to express my opinion even though I do not belong to a certain field. I think the overall point is that academic blogs can remove the thick walls among fields and provide an open sharing environment. 

As what is in it for the readers, since academic blogs are generally written with a more jargon free language and accessible style it opens the doors of an, otherwise inaccessible, field to readers who are outsiders. This can encourage interdisciplinary efforts, as well as a wider public interest in academic/scientific issues.

What a great way to close.  You have done an excellent job of articulating what we are trying to do here at gnovis.  Thank you again for your time Firat and good luck with your studies!