Journal of Ecology blog stats since the beginning

The Journal of Ecology blog started in January this year. We sought to create a forum where we could highlight some of the most interesting work in the Journal of Ecology. 

Personally speaking, I wanted to do something different than the usual text based blog posts on published papers. Namely, I wanted to do something video or audio based, so I began doing video interviews via Skype (posted to YouTube) and some in person audio interviews (e.g., interview with Amber Budden).

What kind of visits have we had to the blog since the beginning?

I scraped the page views off the stats page for this blog, parsed the data and created a simple plot in R. Get the dat and code here to recreate this plot.

Some observations:

By the way, our YouTube channel, which host our video interviews, has 12 subscribers and 1,137 views. Not too shabby.

Caveat: Of course these views should be standardized by time since posted, but still interesting I think. Yes, and I could have used some more regex to get rid of weird characters in the post titles.

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5 responses to “Journal of Ecology blog stats since the beginning

  1. Your most popular posts aren’t just guest posts–they’re guest posts about something other than the journal content. Which I suspect is the reason they’re your most popular posts.

    When I was writing for Oikos blog, posts focused on the journal content, whether written by myself or by others, were among our least-popular substantive posts.

    I think there’s just a much bigger audience for new and substantive content on topics of general interest to ecologists than there is for content (whether text, pictures, or video) that’s tightly tied to a particular paper.

    Not saying that journals shouldn’t bother having blogs linked to the journal’s content. And it’s great that J Ecol blog has been trying out videos, author interviews, and podcasts; experimentation is always good. But I don’t know that anyone’s yet figured out how to have a journal and blog that together are greater than the sum of their parts, and that draw a big audience. I’m not sure how to do it, but I have some ideas. In the early days at Oikos Blog we briefly considered republishing some of the best blog posts as Forum papers. I think it would also be interesting to try spreading special features across the journal and blog. Say, publish a major perspectives or opinion-type piece in the journal, and then have invited guest posts on the blog, commenting on the piece. Or do it the other way–invite some guest posts on the blog (maybe debating opposing sides of some controversial issue), and then let the authors flesh out those posts into papers for the journal, maybe as a single “synthetic” paper. Seems like there ought to be a “sweet spot” between “journal blog that’s basically independent of the journal”, which is what the Oikos Blog eventually became when I was there, and “journal blog that is tightly tied to the journal and exists mainly to promote the journal”.

    • Scott Chamberlain

      True, they are also the posts that are not on journal content. Having said that, I think video and audio format interviews with folks that publish in the journal are useful and worthwhile (YouTube views and podcast downloads were not included in the WordPress stats – I am not going to read papers on astronomy in Nature, but will listen to their podcast interviewing the author).

      Good idea on spreading content across the journal and blog. However, I’m not sure most people will be interested in writing a piece for a blog. Everyone is happy to do an interview with me for the blog, but writing I think is a different story, especially when it won’t be a line on their CV. The problem comes in incentives for ecologists to write blog posts, which seem to be lacking for most people.

      • True enough re: incentives. I suppose the incentive might be “these posts will eventually be turned into papers for a journal special feature”. But yeah, it’s an issue.

  2. Another idea re: incentives is to replace them with obligations. For instance, imagine the journal inviting people to both write an article (say, for a special feature) *and* do a follow-up blog post, as a package deal. If you want the article, you have to do the blog post too. I don’t know, maybe that’s a silly idea, just a thought I had.

    • Scott Chamberlain

      Good idea. Perhaps as incentive to do the blog post, there could be a small discount on page charges if you write a blog post on your paper (if the journal has page charges)?

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