ResearchBlogging.org receives anywhere from two to five applications from bloggers hoping to register each day. In order to ensure that the blog isn’t spam, and to forestall any potential problems down the line, a human reviews each application before approving.
Typically this involves visiting the blog to make sure it’s being actively updated, to see if there are any posts that meet our guidelines, and generally to see if the blogger seems to understand the type of thoughtful posts we are looking for. In about half the cases, it’s obvious that the blog qualifies, and the blog is approved without any further effort. About half the remaining cases are obviously spam and are rejected.
When it’s unclear whether a blog is really right for ResearchBlogging.org, we usually send an email that reads something like this:
I have just had a chance to review your request for your blog to be included in ResearchBlogging.org. I looked briefly at your blog and did not find any posts about peer-reviewed research. Could you show me some examples of posts that meet our guidelines for inclusion? Here’s a link to the web page with our guidelines:
Most bloggers never respond to these queries — once they realize what our organization is all about, they just “go away.” Sometimes examples are provided, and then the blog is approved.
This weekend, a blogger with no posts about peer-reviewed research attempted to register with us, I sent an email like the one above, and the blogger responded that our guidelines did not require bloggers to have previously posted about peer-reviewed research. Such posts are a lot of work, and so we should approve the blog now so that the blogger’s efforts will be rewarded when they do write such a post.
This doesn’t seem like a prudent approach to me, but the blogger does have a point. We should have some guidelines for registering with ResearchBlogging.org. Here’s a first pass at a set of guidelines. We welcome suggestions for additional guidelines or revisions to these guidelines in the comments.
Guidelines for registering with ResearchBlogging.org
To be included in our database and aggregation system, blogs must:
- Contain at least one post meeting our guidelines and at least five total posts.
- Have been updated within the past six months.
- Be well-maintained by the blogger (e.g. relatively free from spam comments, bad code, etc.).
- Include original work by the blogger and link or cite materials taken from other sources.
- Meet community-established standards for decency (e.g. free from pornography, hate speech, etc.).
- Have some means of contacting the blogger (e.g. email address, “contact” form, comments, etc.).
- Be freely available to all readers.
- Be written in a supported language. (Currently English is the only supported language, but we plan on adding additional languages in the future.)
I think that’s a pretty good start. Any additional suggestions or comments?