University-based public policy blog sites are growing in number in the UK. Why?
Partly, this is obviously driven by the so-called “impact” agenda – Universities proving the worth of their research to funding agencies, Government, the media and the public. Impact on public policy is an important part of “impact”.
So why blog sites? A University public policy blogsite offers two huge advantages.
Internally, within a University, it provides a way of quickly sharing policy-related research and developments in an easily digestible format. It is especially useful in developing early-career researchers who can share their work quickly and get feedback from more experienced colleagues outside of the normal, formal, University and academic channels.
Externally, it provides a platform to share – again quickly and accessibly – University public policy research with the wider world and provide ‘sign-posting’ to more in-depth engagement for practitioners and policymakers.
Blogs are essentially a publishing activity – providing quick, free and accessible outlets of key messages from public policy research.
Sometimes people think blogs are too much like newspaper publishing and individual posts being like yesterday’s newspaper – good for wrapping fish and chips but not much else.
Experience with longer-term public policy blog posting at places like the LSE and Manchester have revealed this to be a mistaken assumption.
Many blog posts have a “long tail” of viewings and even, sometimes, revivals of interest years later when the issues covered resurface in national policy and political debates (sometimes popping up in one of Kingdon’s “policy windows”). Moreover blogs are now increasingly being used in teaching and practitioner development programs.
So a University public policy blogsite offers not just contemporary and fast access to the latest policy-relevant research at the University, it also creates a knowledge-base of intellectual capital for the future. Continue reading