Open Science

Science Blogging in the humanities: an improvable relationship? (1.1)

In this blog post series, I will try to summarize some of my most important learning experiences on Science Blogging and Open Science. The following posts second a first workshop on the same topic, which I offered, recently, at the Southeast European Studies Student Symposium (1.4.2023, online).1As a sidenote, this is also the reason why I write in non-proof read English, so please pardon my mistakes. This series of thematically distinct, yet correlative posts follow the two-part structure of the workshop, which was divided in a rather theoretical first part, and a more practice oriented second part. As usually on this blog, I will meander in an essayistic style through the field – here and there deepening aspects which I deem underexplored – primarily by myself. This doesn’t mean that where I dig in, there was no existing scholarship on the topic – because there is a growing and rich literature, and also blogs, on it (a bit more on that in 2.1 What is Open Science?). If my approach may still appear, to some of my readers, as if I was „encroaching“ on other scholars‘ territory, than this may, perhaps, also tell us something about the widespread habit to ascribe certain topics to more or less separate disciplines, where they belong (or not). It may also have to do with my own role in academia: As a trained historian in Southeast European and Turkish history, all my committment to Science Blogging and Open Science is a relatively recent endeavor. So while I am blogging and writing this text, I am also learning… 

If I were to sell you the idea that students and scholars in the humanities should engage more with Open Science and Science Blogging, I would add that I am my own’s best customer: Neither am I a computer scientist, nor a geek, a coder, a hacker or the like; I am rather a practising, self-made blogger with continuously growing curiosity and interest in what we may summarize as the digital revolution, including all its relevant consequences for neopopulism and revisionism studies. I think I was even a quite extreme case of a humanities and social sciences scholar who believed in his own non-affinity, or even inaptness, to master anything that had to do with tech. Maths, the binary system, coding, programing, HTPS, PHP, CSS – literally everything that was seemingly or practically aligned with these things abhored me.

I saw myself as a person who was into language(s), sociology, history, anthropology, politics, culture – which I definitively am. But my own, trained interests seemed to naturally exclude „the other side“. At times, I ascribed that to intellectual laziness. Today, I am aware that this aversion started at modern language high school (Neusprachliches Gymnasium), and that my interests and non-interests were also informed by certain institutional flaws and class issues – but that’s another cup of tea. To wrap it up at this point: using WordPress and starting to blog in 2015 — while I was in midst of my field studies for my doctoral research in Turkey and Bosnia — came with the odd appeal that you may sense when you’re plunged into something new at the deep end.

The blogosphere, after my first wary tries, treated me nicely. I decided to stay and continue, and so I am still here. After more than seven years of blogging, hundreds of pages of text in 175 published and 38 unpublished blog posts accumulated.2I only refer to Inkubator Metamorφ, and not on the other blogs where I write; plus, there are the pages on the blog filled with text, which I neither counted in. Concomitantly, I also gained some skills and experiences with what used to belong to that „other side“: at some point, I even dared to set foot in the unknown and intimidating realm of the code editor. Based on these and other autodidactically achieved experiences with Science Blogging, I increasingly understand how important (and fascinating) this field is – and how little I knew about it before. And I saw how regrettable it is to mentally live and stay in segregated disciplines (perhaps a little exaggeration…). Therefore, I felt the need to reflect and to share my experiences.

The workshop offer by Gresa Morina from the University of Regensburg (and her fellow student colleagues from Graz, Jena and other cities – Thank you all again!) came unexpectedly. It can be seen as the first step towards the realization of a long intended, conjoint idea: From the very inception, the idea of developing a workshop (or even a workshop series) on Science Blogging germinated in a fertile learning exchange with Vincent Vaessen. Vincent is the author of the Iranian Studies blog Vezvez-e kandu, where he created, amongst others, a rich and highly frequented toolbox for that field. Therefore, I asked Vincent to contribute to the workshop, which he gladly accepted.

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