A little plea for advice. Last month I wrote about coordinating a weblogging deployment effort in the quantum information processing research community. The idea is still in the air. We were thinking about inviting participants to set up accounts at blog*spot. Quick and dirty, free, and with low barriers to entry. Now, the advertising is an issue that we need to deal with. We could get rid of it by providing FTP accounts on our Computer Science department's network to participants where they could host their weblog. Does this sound like a risky, tricky or otherwise silly thing to do?
A central argument of this paper is that the traditional mechanisms whereby IS researchers disseminate their work are prone to numerous communication breakdowns, and that much work which could potentially make valuable contributions to practice is haplessly lost within the vaults of academia. [...]
The use of terse and complex idioms, perhaps in an attempt to sound clever (as is the wont of academics), serves only to obfuscate the message and lessens the likelihood that it shall be understood. It is not just practitioners who are having difficulty digesting academic papers, but also many within the academic community find it a painful experience (Alter, 2001). [...]
Thus Glass (1997) is led to comment that "the academic picture of the industrial world (and vice versa) is both skewed and disdainful", while Pike(2000) remarks that "we see a thriving software industry that largely ignores research, and a research community that writes papers rather than software". [...]
Not surprisingly, academics face a credibility gap within the business community, few academics are sought out as being leading thinkers on IT in business, and IT executives feel that in the majority of cases the "academic IS community doesn’t have a clue" [...]
For many academics, the primary motivation to conduct research is survival, and the education of practitioners is only a secondary auxiliary objective (Moody, 2000).
The paper makes recommendations to alleviate the problem, but I honestly don't think researchers will heed them. The inertia of the reward structure is simply too strong. So where will usable innovation come from? I think we had better keep an eye on the growing networks of passionate hobbyists. After all, didn't science itself get started as a hobby?