It is an era of social media and the Internet is bustling with many blogs. Social media sites are full with links to blog posts on every subject under the sun. For any and every topic you find a few blog post out there. The question is whether researchers can cite contents from blogs?   Why citing is important for researchers? The answer to this question is that it is important to cite sources which they use in their research for several reasons; one most important is authenticity of citation and its relevance to the topic. A good source adds quality of the work conducted. The listing of sources is important for the referee and other reader’s information. To be a responsible scholar, he/she needs giving credit to other original work and acknowledge the source.  No researcher, author, academician can take credit for somebody else’s idea.

There is evidence that blog coverage of scholarly articles associates with increased visibility and impact. Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles that might limit the use of blog posts as an altmetry source (altmetrics are metrics and qualitative data that are complementary to traditional, citation-based metrics). First, only a small percentage of articles are covered in blogs.

Second, the definition of “scholarly blogs” and the decision about which blog data to use is challenging. When relying on certain collective work and networks for blog data we miss the impact of articles covered by blogs outside the data collection range. The coverage problem is not specific to blogs, or even to altmetrics, but it extends to bibliometric (bibliometrics is statistical analysis of written publications, such as books or articles databases) which are also chosen as sources and to indexing.

Third, there is a lack of sustainability, in sense maintaining a certain level. While most peer-reviewed journals enjoy professional archiving and printed copies (with ISSN/ISBN numbers), blogs can close down or move without leaving a trace (except perhaps in archive.org and similar sites). For blog-derived data to be reliable, they need to be properly indexed and archived. Bloggers need to create more authenticity for their blogs.

What are the reasons to Trust Online Blogs? Blogs can provide readers with insider information. This means that many blogs are typically written by experts actually working within specific fields of interest. They are providing their readers with firsthand knowledge that can help guide the decision making process.

Blogs normally are written without restrictions. Industry writers typically have more freedom when choosing the types of blogs they write. They don’t usually have a chain of checks and re-checks before being published like online periodical pieces would have. Because of the nature of blogs, even the most controversial topics are given an outlet for discussion. Plus, blogs are usually informally written, allowing readers to easily relate to the language and message. This is perfect for writers looking to provide informative web content that their target audience can connect with and act on. Blogs are usually niche blog covering a specific area.

Blogs are frequently updated. This means that web sites that feature regular blog posts provide evolving information that remains relevant and useful. Site owners don’t want their readers to be turned off by stagnant sites that rarely change, so they put significant efforts into creating stimulating content that appeals to their audience. By doing so, blog writers provide their readers with up-to-date information that is relevant to what is happening in the world around them at any given time.

If a researcher wants to quote or interpret part of a blog post, he/she needs to create a reference to a particular specific post, although many blogs end up being outlets for personal opinions and ideologies to be shared, the fact remains that blogs also serve as legitimate sources of news and information from industry experts. Online blogs are clearly in great quantity, and the list just keeps growing every day.

The global increase and popularity of social media stimulates interest in the utilization of blogs for research purposes. There is, however, a significant lack of information about the manner and scope of blog used in certain areas of research. The fact that all of the big citation styles for instance APA which uses citation formats which not only cover newspapers and reports and web pages but also blogs. APA Style is a writing style and format for academic documents such as scholarly journal articles and books. It is commonly used for citing sources within the field of behavioral and social sciences. It is described in the style guide of the American Psychological Association. Therefore, it clearly suggests that researchers and authors CAN USE BLOGS FOR CITATION.

The Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature (GL ’99) in Washington, DC, in October 1999 defined grey literature as follows: “That which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers.” While purposefully searching for sources on a research topic, grey literature helps in providing a more comprehensive picture. It becomes necessary to search for this unpublished information due to publication bias. The meaning of publication bias is there are some studies that have negative or insignificant results and therefore they do not get published.

Conclusion of the topic: Can scholarly blogs be cited in research work? The answer is YES.

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