A few weeks ago I joined Twitter. I had resisted for a long time feeling that I had barely enough time to write for publication and cope with the incessant demands of the bottomless maw that is university administration. The introduction to academic Tweeting changed my mind. And I now check my Twitter feed to see who is writing, discover new research and read more about the role of social media in academic life. I’ve been exploring ideas about using social media to develop ideas, disseminate research and stimulate more intellectual debate about social work.
One of the challenges for New Zealand researchers (and this applies equally to social work) is that we are judged in our careers by the impact of our research. At a shallow level this is measured by journal impact – the status of the journals we publish in. And this means we must publish in international journals. As a consequence our research findings are frequently only published in journals that have a “pay wall”- the article can’t be accessed without a subscription by a university or organization or by payment of a fee. There are some legal ways around this and I hope in this blog to encourage social work researchers to make their work available. Many researchers feel uncomfortable that those who have participated in research may not have access to the published findings.
Being part of some vibrant intellectual networks has helped me feel better about my profession and academic discipline. Given the very minimal local research base for social work, very low engagement in postgraduate study and lack of much positive intellectual visibility for the profession where I live and work this has become more of a necessity. Put more bluntly lack of intellectual expression of social work ideals in NZ was becoming boring and dispiriting for me. Railing in the staff room or at home about our profile just wasn’t cutting it. Starting this blog is an attempt to stimulate some discussion about scholarship and research in New Zealand social work.
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