In January 2024 the new Rogue Scholar Advisory Board had its first meeting. It consists of six people with diverse expertise in scholarly blogging. Advisory Board members come from different scholarly disciplines and geographic regions, write in several languages besides English, and have different levels of technical expertise.
The Advisory Board will guide the overall direction of Rogue Scholar, looking at governance, feature development, and outreach activities. The Advisory Board will meet virtually twice a year and publish a public summary report (where this is the first one).
Vision and Mission
One important discussion at the initial Advisory Board meeting was about starting to clarify the vision and mission for Rogue Scholar. This includes short-term but also long-term goals beyond the next six months, for example, more work on clarifying what kind of organizations and blog content Rogue Scholar should aim to attract, and how the service should be positioned in relation to other scholarly output formats, such as preprints and journal articles.
Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure
The Rogue Scholar service was launched in 2023 and by the end of the year, the basic infrastructure to support science blogs was in place. Going forward Rogue Scholar will undertake a self-assessment against the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI). This will happen in the coming months and will identify areas where more work and discussion are needed, as the service matures towards a sustainable scholarly infrastructure.
Best practices for running a science blog
The first year running the Rogue Scholar service had a steep learning curve with many lessons learned regarding persistent identification, metadata, and long-archiving. This experience is valuable for every science blog and should be summarized in a publication targeting the second half of 2024. The initial publication of key best practices could happen via a series of blog posts and should include updates to the Rogue Scholar documentation site.
The Rogue Scholar service has solved the registration of science blog DOIs at scale (more than 13k blog posts so far) and promptly (within 30 min after publication). The service works with all blogging platforms that make their content available in a feed. Rogue Scholar is registering important optional metadata, including ORCID identifiers, abstracts, references, relations, and funding information.
With registration, discovery (via the integrated full-text search), and long-term archiving (via the integration with Internet Archive) addressed, the main technical challenge now is the integration of the registered DOIs and metadata into the participating blogs. The solution will be specific to the respective blogging platform and will initially focus on the most popular platforms WordPress, and static site generators (Hugo, Jekyll, Quarto, that require very similar workflows).
Social media are currently undergoing the biggest changes in many years, with the demise of Twitter, and the fragmentation of text-based social media (Mastodon, Bluesky, Threads, LinkedIn, etc.). The role of science blogs and their integration with social media platforms is changing, but the direction is not yet clear. For Rogue Scholar that means to focus the outreach activities on blog posts, email, and newsletters until a clearer picture emerges.
Bilder, G., Lin, J., & Neylon, C. (2020). The Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure. https://doi.org/10.24343/c34w2h