I was a former college instructor (as an adjunct), but ultimately left academia due to low pay. I have no intention of going back to academia any time soon (for a variety of personal and non-personal reasons). However, I am still interested in academia, and would sometimes write about interesting peer-reviewed papers on my own personal blog.

Would writing blog posts about current academic research be considered a form of participation within academia (without having to actually enter into the toxic and less-rewarding atmosphere of academia)?

I understand that I am talking to a 'non-academic' audience (and that there is a difference between popular literature and academic literature), but I would also be helping promote academic literature while also providing critical commentary on it.

For the sake of this question, let's define "academic participation" as "the ability to call myself an academic".

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    I'm not sure there is a stand alone definition of "academic participation" outside of the context. What is the goal of doing things "that count as academic participation"? Is it making sure your name stays known? Is it keeping your options to move back to academia open? is it so you can call yourself an academic? I don't think this is answerable unless you give your bigger picture goals. Apr 19, 2016 at 1:56
  • For the sake of discussion, let's define "academic participation" as "the ability to call myself an academic". Apr 19, 2016 at 2:11
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    You should fold your comment above into your question. Even then, anyone can call themselves an academic; whether other people believe your claim is another story. (I don't think writing blog posts on papers "counts.")
    – Mad Jack
    Apr 19, 2016 at 2:47
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    I would start to think about writing and answer, but currently there is this "toxic and less-rewarding" in the question which really irritates me. It sounds like there is hidden rant in there. Also the question is a bit unclear. The motivation should be made clear and also there is the tension of wanting to participate in academia which you seem to hate.
    – Dirk
    Apr 19, 2016 at 4:41
  • @Dirk, I did not mean to rant, just to express my own disappointment with academia and my hope of an alternate path outside of it (so the tension is probably intentional). I should have avoided opinionated language and made my motivations clearer. Apr 20, 2016 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


In a comment, you clarify that by "count as academic participation", you mean "I could call myself an academic."

No, you could not call yourself an academic just because you write a blog about academic research. Or, rather, you can call yourself whatever you want but most people interpret the phrase "I am an academic" as meaning "I'm a member of the teaching and/or research staff at a university." Using the phrase to mean anything substantially different from that would be very misleading.


It depends on the context. This probably wouldn't work in the US. However, I have known of writing a blog to count as a lower level of academic output at Asian universities.

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