Academic Podcasting - New Research Project: Call for Inputs

Ian Cook Discussion

Hi there,

I've been following the recent discussions by Christopher, Marshall, Yelena, Robert and others with great interest.

It's something that my colleague Dumi Holdis and I at the Center for Media Data and Society at CEU were thinking a lot about in summer. Indeed so much so that we managed to get some funding for a pilot project on just this – ‘Academic Podcasting: Digital Scholarship, Communities of Knowledge Production and the Elusive Search for the Public’.

We’ll be working on a open access report that will assess the current field of academic podcasting with a focus on the social sciences and humanities. We’re also planning to run a series of training sessions for faculty, staff and students at CEU who are interested in learning how to podcast.

I’m writing now because we want the research to be of maximum use for all of us involved in making podcasts. Useful in the sense of furthering our understanding about what role podcasts have, but also useful in trying get more institutional support (or financial support) for those of us who make them. In the spirit of openness, we’d be really curious in hearing if there’s anything that you’d be interested in knowing. Obviously we have areas of focus in our research, but before we get started properly (it’s the first week) we want to see if there’s anything the community want to know.

To ask it bluntly, what do you want to know about the current state of academic podcasting? (feel free to respond on the list or directly to me).

We’ll hopefully be moving the project forward next year and making our pilot fly, so please also feel free to be in touch about that too if you're working or planning to work on similar projects.



Dr. Ian M. Cook

Central European University





4 Replies

Post Reply

Dear Ian,

Fantastic news! Thank you for alerting us about this important project.

I would personally be interested in learning more about how academics are fitting podcast production into their scholarly profiles. What kind of training, technical support, hosting, etc. are institutions providing? Is podcasting more likely to be done by people in outreach positions, like academic specialists and administrative or support staff (as Christopher Rose discussed in his post), graduate students, early career or later career TT academics? How are podcasts being classified institutionally -- public history, community outreach, digital humanities, service, something else?

Curious what others are interested in...


H-Podcast editor

Ian, this sounds excellent! I wanted to respond earlier, but I have been recently traveling and was out of town last week. I am interested in seeing this report when it is completed.

As far as your question "what do you want to know about the current state of academic podcasting?" This seems like a broader question we need to discuss here on H-Podcast.

My question would be, or what I would like to find out is if podcasting offers academics something that other media or forms of electronic communication do not. I would like to know what other people think about this question. So, if we create a venn diagram of forms of electronic engagement with the public what part of that diagram would not overlap with any other circles? That is what I am really curious about and I have these discussions with my students when I teach the podcasting class.

Another thing I would be interested in is metrics, what are the metrics that academics think define success for a podcast project that has an academic focus. So in radio it is listener numbers obviously. But for academic podcasters are numbers the gold standard? Would it be a small but engaged audience measured by interactivity? Would it be reach and impact....does a podcast inspire other works and discussion in other places? Or does the ability to create a product faithful to an academic vision that can been judged, evaluated and peer reviewed translate to some meaningful metric?

What are other people thinking? Many of us I know are producing podcasts, for me the numbers does not matter as much as the reach and trying to cultivate an engaged audience. I would like to hear from others and what is the measure of success in an academic podcasting world?



Thanks Yelena and Robert!

Glad you're also excited. You raise important questions, not all of which we've thought about, or at least not in exactly the same way. Many thanks for this! If there's anyone else out there with thoughts then please feel free to chip in (a few people wrote off list saying they're going to reply at some point).

We'll be sure to keep you all informed about the project as we move forward with it. We're also starting a pilot course for scholars who want to podcast, and hope that the two elements will inform each other.

Thanks again,


Hi all,

I'm so glad folks have started a discussion on this; the project sounds like a great way to investigate podcasting as a new academic resource but also a medium that has a wider reach beyond university walls.

I'd echo the great questions and topics Robert & Yelena have already addressed. I'd also like to see how people think of podcasting as a new medium of scholarly output. What makes a podcast academic? Is it university support? Something else? With such an explosion in growth and variety in podcasts, what kind of rubric should we hold podcasts to in order to consider them academic?

Along those lines, I'd be interested in how academic podcasters approach issues of finance. As a new medium, many universities may not offer funding to develop these projects. Other funding bodies may be starting to include podcasts as academic projects, but I'd be interested to know other's experiences. What are people's perspectives as to commercial, ad-based, crowd-sourced, or other donation-based funding for these projects?

Thanks for getting this conversation going.