So, a while back, I put up a a wiki page listing Scholars Who Blog, drawing from a bunch of similar lists on the web. Since then, a handful of new sites have been added or taken from the list, and there are about 550 blogs listed. At the time, Seb Paquet agreed that a more complete solution was desirable, and set up a very nice set of notes on another wiki.

There, I suggested one way of maintaining quality was only allowing blogs that had been linked to by other, already established blogs. To that end, I took a look at the hyperlinks among the blogs listed, and looked for inlinks from others on the list. This is a bit like what Technorati does on a much larger scale. The top twenty were not too surprising:

URL inlinks 723 307 224 202 141 110 103
ttp:// 103 98 96 74 69 56 56 55 51 50 50 49 47

Part of the reason it isn’t particularly surprising is that I gathered some of these links from the Crooked Timber site, the Rhetorica site, Jill Walker’s site, and Seb Paquet’s site, so it isn’t really surprising that these end up being linked a lot in turn. Several of these are also “A-listers” and very widely linked. It would be interesting, and maybe worthwhile, to compare these with each weblogs total inlinks according to Technorati.

The upshot is that a number of blogs that I would classify as being quite “scholarly” in content received 0 links from the 550 in this list. There are two explanations here. The first is that these 550 are only a tiny sliver of the number of academic bloggers in existence. Frankly, while I know that it is missing a number of blogs, I suspect that it contains a fairly good number of them. The second is that counting inlinks is not a good way of assuring quality. Back to the drawing board…

Click the “More” link to see if you made the top 120. I’m in there somewhere :).

Update: In answer to an emailed question, the reason HNN figures so prominantly is because of a small issue with the approach. Since I’m looking for the existence of the any part of the site in the link, in fact, that is catching all the links to any of the hnn site. That, in combination with a lot of linking, accounts for the very large number of links seeming to be inbound to

The next 100 most linked scholarly bloggers (from scholarly blogs):

URL inlinks 47 47 46 45 41 41 38 38 37 36 36 36 35 35 34 34 34 34 33 32 31 31 31 30 30 28 28 27 27 26 26 25 25 24 23 23 23 23 22 22 22 21 20 20 20 20 20 19 19 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 17 17 17 17 17 17 16 16 16 16 16 15 15 15 15 15 14 14 14 14 14 13 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12
ttp:// 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 10
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  1. Posted 6/16/2004 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Interesting — though I’m wondering how you defined “scholarly.” Wonkette, for example, never struck me as possessing much of that particular quality. (And my own site is probably increasingly devoid of it as well — oh, well. I don’t begrudge the company I’ve been placed in. :) )

  2. Alex
    Posted 6/16/2004 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. Wonkette is the most obvious example, but there are dozens of others. I added only, maybe, a half-dozen of these. The rest are composed from lists at Ph.D. blogs, Crooked Timber, Rhetorica, and Seb’s & Jill’s lists. I think this list is probably missing a whole lot of people and has a lot who would not self-identify as “scholars”–which itself is fairly hazy concept.

  3. Posted 6/16/2004 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    In some ways this reminds me of the discussion I was having with Lil of Liliputian Lilith a while back about out-of-academia intellectual activity. Scholarly is as good as anything, I suppose; we were leaning towards “metis” (me) and “intellectual” (Lil).

  4. Posted 6/17/2004 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    OK, this is me in scholarly tirade mode:

    It’s multiobjective. Almost everything, whether it’s an engineering design project or a quantitative analysis of this sort, has multiple uncorrelated objectives/goals/standards. Surely this one is vastly under-described by any single scale or measure.

    Think about these as some of the scales or measures one would like to attend to (if one felt one must): productivity, uniqueness, usefulness, redundancy, cross-referencing, scholarliness, innovativeness, synthesis, argumentativeness, accuracy, vulgarity, politicization.

    By collapsing these fuzzy, subjective, potentially uncorrelated or irreconcilable goals with one another into a single measure, a number of important babies have been pitched wayyyy out there with the bathwater.

    If we must have comparisons, think more about Pareto-optimality, domination and equivalence, and high-dimensional representations. And besides, if there are enough objectives/goals/scales, then everybody’s blog is nondominated.

  5. Alex
    Posted 6/17/2004 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I had a long, well-thought out response to this. But then I managed to delete it before posting. Here’s the summary:

    Links are estimates of the estimability of a given resource by a population, no more, no less. From the perspective of someone trying to establish a particular dimension of quality, they are naturally going to fail. But how often, really, is it that you are so sure of what you are looking for. Most people have a fuzzy idea of their search conception anyway, so a fuzzy measure isn’t a bad way to go about that.

    Your criticism holds more sway, I think, when it comes to questions of determining, say, “academic influence” a la ISI. Then, I think we need to be conscious of exactly how and why someone gets cited. I have yet to meet an academic who says “my greatest work is the most cited.” They always say “yeah, I tossed that off as an exercise, and it is by far the most cited.” I’ve had three people on my faculty–all well-established scholars–say words to this effect.

  6. Posted 6/22/2004 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Understandability plays a huge role in getting links. What I consider to be my most important work has so far gotten very little attention because I haven’t yet been able to explain it very clearly.

  7. stefanos
    Posted 6/22/2004 at 5:52 pm | Permalink


    yes, i have encountered the same, though i am not as well experienced as you. it seems an idea goes through both a private and then a public process towards citation.

    I think an edit feature to wiki-fy a blog can help. most people ignore the idea when its fresh: as it develops and is a “deliverable” then people jump on the band wagon.

    supportive people soon show up and follow ones posting: and soon a idea is no longer part of ones imagination: others who have been thinking in the same line, start to add their thoughts. In comparison in terms of academic papers, i think the process of dealing with a public and getting an idea noticed is a sort of peer review.

    so the city as metaphore is correct: as engine to innovation, the community of persons stumbling over each other leads to debate. Would there be geometry without commerce? Shape and calculation came into being with complex trade evolving. Now real time zero and cyberspace bring in ideas from a “bizar” of ideas posted here and there.

    so as marshall mccluhan pointed at spengler’s mistakes regarding non eucleadian mathematics: we now have to deal with a how these networks and subnetworks interact and come into being: the non eucledian stuff, key to a wide range of physical phenomena in the field of signal processing, will describe how the media becomes the medium of communication is how our language is being stretched to new levels of perceptions about ourselves. But many will misunderstand: and some will percieve prior to the masses, with words having more and more of a short comming.

  8. stefanos
    Posted 6/22/2004 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    maybe the A list bloggers are either too busy or maybe just not able to view other maybe more interesting blogs.

    what factors would make one not link a very good/highquality blog with important things written on it.

    Joi Ito got mad for crosslinking all sorts links on his blog: i always thought it was a free speech forum: i did not curse or insult: not even controversial things: i simply wrote about a flashmob poetry reading…and some odd literature allusions.

    why would i almost be banned for quoting Tolsoy?

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