Over the last couple of weeks or so, Monographer’s blog has run a mini-series on blogs on publishing. The blogs chosen for, as it were, the bronze and silver medals were not amongst the best known. In contrast, the blog chosen here for the gold medal is highly popular. Perhaps nominating The Scholarly Kitchen: What’s hot and cooking in scholarly publishing even runs the risk of launching a ‘dog bites person’ story.
The Scholarly Kitchen was established by The Society for Scholarly Publishing in 2008. It is edited by Kent Anderson and Phil Davis and currently has eight other contributors. Its aims – expressed on the blog in very worthy, even grave, terms – may be paraphrased as ‘writing about interesting stuff to do with scholarly publishing and its contexts’. Regular themes include digitization, developments in libraries, university presses, and higher education, and issues of IP and publishing ethics. Generally, the blog is forward-looking.
The use of a broad team of contributors enables the blog to maintain a high standard while publishing frequently. The standard isn’t invariably high. Sometimes posts miss their mark a little. For example, Reconsidering the Abstract doesn’t seem to me fully cooked. It is as if the post wants to announce the death of the abstract, but can’t quite bring itself to do so.
I’m not entirely convinced by blog’s recently launched ‘Stick to your Ribs‘ feature, in which every week the editor selects a post the blog’s archive (“A post that the Chefs and [the editor] agree has long-term appeal, bears repeated readings, and has shaped thinking over time”). Is the blog running out of steam a little, I wonder?
In general, though, the blog is fresh, vigilant, and thought-provoking. It is unafraid to take an independent line. As an example of a typically impressive post, I’d nominate Publishing through the Wormhole,which (similarly to Monographer’s Blog in ‘From Monograph to Mesograph?‘ below) takes its theme from the perception that “books and articles are the length they are because of the economics of their distribution”.