The Scholarly Kitchen has become quite successful in some ways over the past few years. Just over the past seven days, we’ve been mentioned in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, for instance, and media and scholarly citations are occurring with increasing frequency. This kind of exposure is great for the authors writing here.
Our traffic continues to grow. This year, we’re up about 35% over last year. Some major posts are helping to increase awareness of the Kitchen outside our core constituency, as well. Our Twitter, email, and RSS followings also continue to grow.
Our writers are also speaking more, inspiring meetings and seminars on topics they’ve explored here, and gaining exposure as multi-faceted thinkers in the field.
Working in the Kitchen, it’s clear to me that some basic publishing mechanics and editorial qualities are making this blog work. And in an era that posits disruption uber alles, it’s nice to see some constants are still effective at generating and engaging an audience.
- Great contributors. We have always had a strong set of writers, but the current set is the best yet, with representation from most of the disciplines in scholarly and scientific publishing, as well as excellent thinkers who are well-connected and who write clearly.
- Great content. Great writers produce great content. I can’t tell you how often I’m delighted and surprised by the topics the contributors select, the insights they have, and the high quality of their writing. We rarely coordinate coverage (usually, someone just checks that nobody else is covering something), so the mix you see is purely the result of what independent writers can produce.
- Regular publication. With a few exceptions around major holidays or summer vacations, we publish every weekday of the year. We recapture attention regularly, and also reset quickly after mediocre or controversial posts. We’ve often contemplated slowing down, but somehow that raises the stakes for each post and also increases the chance of lassitude seeping in.
- Pressure-valve features. Every professional needs a little cheat. Disk jockeys used to play “Stairway to Heaven” so they could use the bathroom. Many publications have filler or a backlog they use in case something else falls through. One editor kept a suitcase of filler in his office for such exigencies. Over the years, we’ve developed some features that help us keep things going without overextending ourselves — “Ask the Chefs,” “Stick to Your Ribs,” and the Friday video features.
The constants are very analogous to the constants of SSP — the volunteers at all levels, from committee chairs to session facilitators to Board members, are passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated beyond all reason. That’s part of why this blog fits so well at SSP — it’s just another example of independent people working hard together to create something remarkable.
Well, that’s all the time I have for self-reflection. Back to work, and thanks for reading. See you next week!