When the Scholarly Kitchen started over four years ago, there was no clear indication that it might take off. A scholarly publishing blog? It sounded implausible, but the Kitchen is now part of a robust blogging ecosystem in scholarly publishing. And as 2012 ends, I wanted to make some observations and share some data. After all, I think more than a few readers might be interested to know how much a group of volunteer writers who barely communicate with one another are able to accomplish.
- We continue to be a discussion blog, not a broadcast blog. We have about 10 comments for every post, and some posts get dozens of comments, with a few having more than 100 comments. It’s definitely a place for people to share, debate, and discuss.
- We have more than 3,500 email followers, almost 5,000 RSS followers, and more than 4,000 Twitter followers.
- We now have — thanks to the wonderful volunteers on SSP’s Communications Committee — a Wikipedia page.
- For the first time, we’ve crossed the 1,000,000 views threshold in a year (a 45% increase over last year, which itself was a 95% increase over the prior year), and we had our first month of 100,000+ views (November).
- We added some excellent new bloggers this year, who have brought new perspectives and insights to the blog.
- We continue to have extremely dedicated and productive bloggers, some who publish weekly, and others who do a lot of invisible work suggesting topics or “Ask the Chefs” questions or approving comments or interacting on Twitter.
- We have a smart and well-informed audience that pushes us, questions us, calls us out, and keeps us honest.
- It’s still a lot of work, but rewarding work doesn’t feel like work most of the time. And we publish nearly every weekday through the year, despite all the bloggers being volunteers.
So what were the most popular posts of 2012? Given our reputation for fearlessly confronting questions emanating from open access (OA) initiatives, it might be surprising to know that many of our top posts in 2012 had nothing to do with OA. Citations still get a lot of attention, especially citation misbehavior. Our e-book posts proved that the Kitchen can occasionally provide a cross-over hit, getting amplified by the mainstream press. Here are the most popular posts from 2012 (with two related posts combined in #1 — the first was the most popular, the second also made the list, but lower down):
- The Emergence of a Citation Cartel and Citation Cartel Journals Denied 2011 Impact Factor
- E-books and the Personal Library
- Why E-book Distribution Is Completely and Utterly Broken (and How to Fix It)
- The Typography of Authority — Do Fonts Affect How People Accept Information?
- Not Free, Not Easy, Not Trivial — The Warehousing and Delivery of Digital Goods
- A Proposed List — 60 Things Publishers Do
- Mysteries of the Elsevier Boycott
- Something’s Rotten in Bethesda — The Troubling Tale of PubMed Central, PubMed, and eLife
- Amazon Enhances Its Position in Academic Markets with Launch of Its Whispercast System
- Six Mistakes Your Sales Reps Are Making
Of course, traffic doesn’t correlate completely with importance, but traffic means a lot. It’s ultimately the best signal we have from our audience. Believe me, there’s nothing more sobering than watching a post you’ve slaved over for days or weeks land with a thud.
So, we enter Year 5 of the Scholarly Kitchen with some new voices and a lot of energy and momentum. May your 2013 be superb and rewarding, both personally and professionally. Thanks for reading!