Your work has been published in a brilliant journal with an excellent impact factor. This may be quite recently, or it could be some time ago, and due to recent events, or published findings, it is time to reiterate the results of that particular piece of research. Today more research is being discussed on-line. Your work could be discussed on social media sites and in research blogs. It could be mentioned in public policy documents and news articles. So it could be beneficial for you to be part of that discussion.
You have the power to enhance and increase the reach of your published work and you don’t have to totally rely on the journal’s impact factor. Through raising your on-line presence, you will increase the reach of your published work and potentially increase the number of citations. But where do you begin? You may have started to set up your LinkedIn account, and had a look at Twitter but don’t really understand the point in it. Well, help is at hand. Here are several strategies for using various digital platforms in the most effective way to increase the reach and impact of your work.
Before you start
Professor Andy Miah, Chair in Science Communication & Future Media at University of Salford, who has been published in Taylor & Francis journals, is a strong advocate of using social media to publicise your work. He has produced a 15minute video for Taylor & Francis’ author services site. His key take away messages are: –
1. Consider the journal’s social media identity
Social media can improve the cohesiveness of your research community. Think about the journal’s social media identity as the focus of interest for the people around it.
2. Grow community and public engagement
Grow the academic community beyond your peer groups. Doing this can potentially increase the impact and the value of the research you are producing.
3. Think of social media as a conversation not purely a broadcast channel
Consider how you respond to the sharing of knowledge and the changes in behaviours around communication. Connect the interests with the journal’s readership.
Whilst you are very likely to be part of a community of researchers in your area, there are several mainstream platforms that you can use to take part in discussions on, and disseminate your thoughts through, to reach a wider audience.
Here are the top four mainstream platforms that we suggest you consider. If you are not active on any of these channels start with one and invest a bit of time in it until it becomes a habit.
This is our favourite here at GA Jobs. It is a truly an international platform. The use of hashtags opens up communication to the world. In our post Twitter 101 for academics we mention The power of the hashtag post on the Wiley Exchanges blog, which lists various platforms that can help you to find relevant hashtags without too much guess work.
Most institutions and organisations have a Twitter account listed fairly prominently on their website. Before you follow that account check when the last post was and who their followers are. As you look at their followers you will inevitably end up following other accounts you find interesting. You will discover relevant hashtags too. You may also want to follow the lists that are set up on various Twitter accounts.
Some of our favourite Twitter accounts are listed below: –
Having an active Twitter account will increase your on-line visibility.
The keys are to engage and share interesting and relevant useful information about your area of research. As you build up your network it becomes a really great place to share your updates on your personal blog, or events you take part in. For your published work you can share a link to the journal listing with a photo of the cover of the journal.
Twitter is a fantastic source for live news updates, you will often find individuals tweeting about events or news in your area of interest/research before you see it on official accounts. When you can’t attend events it can be a helpful tool if there is a hashtag being used, as you will be able to get a flavour of what is going on. Event attendees often post photos of slides that are being shown in the session with their own comments.
No matter what your area of work, whether you are a head of a department or head of a company LinkedIn will increase your online visibility. When someone ‘Googles’ you they will find you quickly and learn more about your network too. Make sure you connect with your colleagues and co-authors.
When you update your LinkedIn profile link it to your staff page on your institution’s website. Of course you will need to ensure this is also up to date. LinkedIn will automatically link you to the institution’s LinkedIn page.
As well as raising your online profile and helping people to build a picture of who you are in terms of your professional network, LinkedIn is a useful tool to learn more about contacts and see who others are connected to. It is handy if you don’t have a contact’s email because you can contact them via LinkedIn.
It can be helpful to follow relevant funding organisations’ company pages, such as Horizon 2020, for regular sound bites of information.
There is a general rule of thumb about keeping FaceBook as your personal network and LinkedIn as your professional network. However, you may well have built up a strong personal network of contacts throughout your academic life. You could invite that community on to a FaceBook page based on a project you’re working on or a team you have joined.
On international early career researcher Wesley Loftie-Eaton has done this for his cycle trip through six African countries in six months raising awareness of antibiotic resistance at institutions along the way.
4. Your own blog
It is really important to have a plan before you start. Blogs can be started with great gusto and trail off almost as quickly as they begin. We have a series of posts to help you get set up and maintain your own professional blog. The reason to blog is to enhance your network in your area of research and to potentially increase that network to a wider audience including the general public and journalists.
In summary, the focus is more about encouraging researchers to be active participants of on-line platforms and build up communities around their area of work. By default, this will increase the reach of published work and potentially increase citation rates.