The first month of the Scholarly Kitchen was inauspicious — 29 views, and a few short posts. Now, five years later, we have 100,000 views per month routinely, despite the quiltwork of topics we cover; we have thousands of email and Twitter followers; and the Chefs represent a wide range of perspectives and interests and are uniformly excellent writers.
We even have a “road show” version that has played in the US, the UK, and as the closing session at the last few SSP Annual Meetings.
When this first started, I pledged to commit a year to it, in order to see if it could take off and flourish. After all, it takes a while to build an audience, find your editorial footing, and work out the kinks. Luckily, the superb network of volunteers SSP cultivates was ready and willing to help within weeks of the launch. From Howard Ratner to Phil Davis to David Crotty, writers with great experience and serious writing chops were soon on board.
And, boy, did they write, as you can see from some of our most popular and interesting posts over the past five years include:
- PLoS ONE: Is a High Impact Factor a Blessing or a Curse?
- Open Access Publisher Accepts Nonsense Manuscript for Dollars
- The Emergence of a Citation Cartel
- Why Hasn’t Scientific Publishing Been Disrupted Already?
- E-books and the Personal Library
- A New Publishing Ecosystem Emerges
- The Typography of Authority — Do Fonts Affect How People Accept Information?
We’ve been quoted in the New York Times, have our own Wikipedia page, and were nominated for a Webby in 2010, along with some major blogs from major media.
Today, after more than 1,600 posts, 17,000 comments, and thousands of Twitter and email and RSS followers, we have assembled a slate of productive authors, have excellent commentary on our posts, and produce a steady stream of interesting topics. Best of all, from my perspective, we’re still a bit audacious in what we’ll tackle and in the opinions we’ll put out there. We risk being unpopular if we think it’s the right thing to do. This kind of independence is right for scholars, for scholarly publishers, and for independent thinkers everywhere.
Throughout it all, I have to thank the tremendously smart and interesting bloggers who write here and have written here; the SSP for their dedication to our independence; and our readers for hanging with us as we’ve learned and grown. I also want to especially thank our executive editor, Phil Davis, for his diligence, courage, and frank opinions as we’ve moved ahead. And for his posts, which always make the turnstiles click.
A half decade already? It feels like we’re just getting started.