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How and Why to Make Your Digital Publications Matter

Posted on September 5, 2014

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At Students 4 Best Evidence, we’ve been trying to show how anybody with an interest in developing their knowledge of evidence-based medicine can add something useful to the wider discussion. The work of our many contributors has helped show that digital publications matter, both to the growing field of EBM, and individually to people trying to move ahead in their field.

Below is a repost from a blog by CATHY DAVIDSON on, from 21st May, 2012. It gives really useful tips on how to cite your digital publications, including blogs on your CV’s and résumés. You can also follow Cathy on Twitter – @CathyNDavidson.

‘I don’t have the metrics, but I’ll stake my professional reputation on the following  statement:  In the last one or two years, there has been a seachange in how even the most traditional academic, nonprofit, or corporation values, respects, and “counts” relevant, professional online publication and interactivity.  The keywords are “relevant” and “professional” and how you present your digital contributions is not only key to your success, but also itself contributes to the larger culture of peer learning.

This year, as I’ve been on leave and been on what is turning into a never-ending lecture tour (sixty events and counting!), I am constantly being approached, whether at corporations, nonprofits, educational institutions, or academic and professional institutions, about how and why to make online publications count.  I also hear similar reports from HASTAC Scholars and others on the academic job market who are surprised at how a blog or a post in an online forum will end up dominating an interview.

My intuition is that, even for the wary, recalcitrant, or skeptical, the ways individuals connect now online and learn from one another’s connections no longer represent the pathological or aberrant (i.e. the shallow, distracted, lonely, asocial, unprofessional digital generation:  you know the litany!), but “the future.”  Since many are worried about “the future,” those who seem to have a firmer grasp on it are now seen not as needing rehab but as harbingers.  That’s a good thing.

So, here are some ad hoc hints about how to make your online publications relevant and professional.

These suggestions may seem like common sense  but the welter of nay-saying pundits (in the academy and beyond) make many young professionals and even seasoned ones nervous about taking credit for all the ways they contribute.

This Fall, at Duke, I’ll be co-directing a new Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge and we’ll be running a website and some webinars with these kinds of tips—and we’ll be crowdsourcing the best suggestions in the field.

Stay tuned!  You’ll be getting the invitation.  And then you’ll be able to list your contribution (of course) on your vita or resume.  The keywords (again!) are “relevant and professional.”  You make the case for relevance and professionalism by making the translation from the most traditional rules and forms of your chosen field to your online work.  When you do, you will be appreciated.  Your online publication is not “as good as” peer-reviewed work.  It is a different and vital kind of contribution, which shows a different and increasingly essential range of skills, purposes, intentions, audiences, reach, and pedagogy.

Banner image credit: noodlepie



Hi! I work at Cochrane UK as the Communications & Engagement Officer, as part of the role I administering this web site. Do get in contact if you would like to know more or get involved with S4BE.

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How and Why to Make Your Digital Publications Matter by HollyMillward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Unless otherwise stated, all images used within the blog are not available for reuse or republication as they are purchased for Students 4 Best Evidence from

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