It's a shame people only get meaningful academic credit for creating new knowledge (regardless of its importance), and not for explaining existing knowledge better than anyone has before. For example, have a look at Neil Brown's "Ghost of Unix Past
" series, or almost anything from the SysAdvent
blog (such as Adam Fletcher's look at what really happens
when you run 'ls'). If things like this were counted toward promotion and tenure, I think there'd be a lot more of them, but how to count is a hard problem. As Titus Brown recently posted on his blog:
This is the problem with the online world for scientists: there's no real systematized incentive to any of this online stuff. And that makes it really tough. I'm going through Reappointment right now...Nowhere on there is there a place for "influential blog posts"---how would you measure that, anyway?