To me, writing this blog has been a quest to determine of the meaning of being an "EM pharmacist", a tool to improve my writing and motivation to continue to reading everything and anything. In the months since we started, Nadia and I have received both praise and criticism that have helped us stay on point, and importantly, helped us frame arguments to establish everything FOAMed as an form of scholarly activity.
Many of those who already read blogs, listen to podcasts and follow Twitter feeds know of teaching concepts like flipping the classroom and bringing social media tools into the curriculum. However, when discussing whether adding activities like authoring a blog or producing a podcast to a CV or academic portfolio with academic leadership, the conversation quickly turns to "well, that's nice, but it's not peer reviewed." While leaders in the FOAMed universe like ALiEM are taking on peer-review, the argument of the validity of our social media activities itself was the question Nadia and I wanted to ask. So we did. (full manuscript available with subscription online).
We surveyed (non validated survey tool) deans of medical, pharmacy and nursing schools in the US and asked where they felt social media activities (blog, podcast, twitter, etc) fell on the scholarly activity spectrum and what would improve the scholarly merit of those activities. While the results were not surprising, establishing a peer-review process ranked highest in importance for scholarly merit (almost double that of overall viewership).
By no means was our survey methodologically robust, but it's a starting point. Those of you out there who are in an academic role, and those of you who are leaders in the FOAMed universe, I'd ask you to help in the pursuit of validating what we do through publication in the 'traditional' medical literature (if you already haven't, or aren't currently in the process of doing so). Please do not take my request as a personal crusade to further my academic career by getting something else out of blogging - like many others out there, I'd continue to do this regardless. But, I do feel that through recognition of SoMe activities as scholarly pursuits, it will attract so many more individuals and promote intelligent, thought provoking discussion. Particularly in the world of pharmacy, it can break us out of this uptight, stuffy approach that's propagated though the same-old ways of doing things.
If you are reading this, and hold an academic appointment, please share how you've integrated (successfully or not) into your scholarly activity.