Sunday, 6 January 2013

This was Philosophical Comment 2012

So, this being the last day before I'm back at the office after the winter holidays, I sense it's the last chance to provide my traditional summary of the basic statistics of this blog for the year that has just passed (the one from last year is here).

First out, an image demonstrating the number of readers over the blog's entire existence that illustrates several things worth highlighting:

As you can see, there was a drastic and significant dip in readership from February (which was a top month of the blog up till then with 6 477 readers) to July (1 852 readers). During this time, I was acutely ill in what turned out to be Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a metabolic condition causing a number of very uncomfortable symptoms, initially mostly of a mental nature and in my case akin to what used to be called a "breakdown", that left me on whole or partial sick-leave till October last year. Hence, during this acute phase I made only five posts, and the decrease of readership can be linked to that, since as soon as I started posting again from August, readership quickly went back to former levels and then increased even more, hitting an all time high in October with 7 234 readers. So, in spite of the dip, the long-term trend of ever increasing popularity of Philosophical Comment is holding up! Total number of readers in 2012 ended up equaling 50 776 and the total number of readers over the entire life of the blog is now very close to 100 000 and will break that ceiling in early 2013.

2012 also turned out to be the year when Philosophical Comment started to receive some major recognition. First, New York Times linked to my report of the death of J.J.C. Smart and, as will soon be obvious, made it one of this year's most popular ones. Just recently, The Guardian used one of my posts from 2011 as a source in an article on the process of privatisation of public health care in Sweden – namely one of my comments on the attempt of the director of leading Swedish private thinktank/research institute, Centre for Business and Policy Studies (SNS), to silence research demonstrating the weak scientific basis of this policy trend - making that piece to quickly rise in the statistics of readers per post. Since mid August, Blogger lists Philosophical Comment in the first row of its "interesting and noteworthy" Blogs of Note, of course, helping to explain further the continued success. Unfortunately, the increased attention has also brought some undesirable side-effects in the form of annoying spam commentators, recently forcing me to temporarily (I hope) change the comments function from open to moderated.

So, over to the popularity of individual posts:

The piece on the Wikileaks cablegate publication from 2010 is still firmly placed at the top, no doubt thanks to the continued publicity around the handling of Bradley Manning, further publications from Wikileaks and the continuously bizarre personal developments around Julian Assange due to his no doubt very deeply felt insistence to avoid visiting my country to be interviewed by the prosecuter regarding rape and sexual coercion allegations. The posts from 2012 that have made the list are, as indicated, the one on the death of J.J.C. Smart and two early posts on the troubles around the management of the American Journal of Bioethics that came to last over several months, with the resignation of Summer Johnson McGee from the post as editor in chief and manager of as the last event in a long series of several both odd and disturbing ones (links to reports of all of these can be found in the post just linked to). Besides that, I'm very happy that a piece on how academics and students should and could mind themselves in the new landscape of fake or extremely sub-standard online open access journals. The other pieces include, another one of the scandal around Centre for Business and Policy Studies (SNS) from 2011, as well as a not very surprising one as top hit on how to assess the culpability of Norwegian anti-muslim mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik from the same year (I might add that the final court verdict ended up being exactly in accordance with my analysis in this post).

Over to readership, I'm very happy to be able to confirm the continuing internationalisation of the blog, where both the UK and USA are now stronger as the home country of readers than Sweden, where especially Russia but also Germany and Canada are slowly gaining.

In spite of the obvious and rather expected dominance of anglophone and/or European countries as the origin of the readership, as a whole, Philosophical Comment is truly global in its outreach, with many readers from Asia (especially Japan, India, Indonesia and the Philippines) and South America, which can be viewed with the help of this tool (linked to the blog later than the blogger-statistics given earlier and, in addition, calculating hits slightly differently, but nevertheless serving this particular purpose fine).

So, with hope for the best to all of you in 2013, thanks to all readers, commentators, linkers, tweeters, posters, thumbs uppers, and what have you in this increasingly exciting world of borderless online communication!