Many people have lamented on how long it often takes to get an article, comment or letter published in a journal. The time delay is most often seen when the author is writing about a new technology that was new a year ago or when somebody is responding to an article by writing a letter or brief comment. The letter or brief comment shows up several months after the original article, creating what I feel is a bit of a disconnect.
Travis Saunders wrote an interesting post about his experience writing a Letter to the Editor and blog post discussing the conclusions of an article in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutritional and Physical Activity. No surprise the Letter to the Editor took considerably longer to get published. The blog post while quicker to post probably had the same reach as the Letter to the Editor. While the Letter was not the quickest nor maybe the most effective method, it is still the most important for career.
As Travis mentions, “Publications are the currency of research. These are what people (scholarship and grant committees, performance review committees, etc) focus on when determining your productivity, and having a few extra publications can make a huge difference for a young researcher.” As a result there is no way a blog post will compare with a Letter to the Editor. Travis mentions that a hybrid model using the best of both communication methods would be ideal, and points out that BMJ already does this sort of with has eLetters.
Given that the methods of assessment and professional communication still have to catch up to the way we communicate professionally via social media outlets, one would think it is pointless to even bother. Why write two “letters?” (The actual Letter to the Editor and the blog post) Why not? With some simple edits, adding of URLs (if need be) somebody can kill two birds with one stone and quite possibly reach others they would never have otherwise reached with a traditional Letter to the Editor. Compared to a traditional Letter to the Editor, a blog post has the ability to go viral much more easily thereby having a greater impact. Given how easy and little time it takes a blog post