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How to increase the visibility of your research?

Introduction

Activities aimed at promoting research are increasingly important in researchers’ work.  By making your research visible and accessible you increase chances of your research being noticed, used and having impact, thus increasing your own reputation and chances of success in your academic work. 

Researchers are embracing a variety of activities and tools to promote work, connect with other researchers, and engage in scholarly discourse.  Increasingly, the activities related to promoting their research take place at all stages of the research process: from the discovery stage, through analysis and writing process, through to publishing, outreach, and  assessment.  101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication project from University of Utrecht (see below) provides a comprehensive mapping of traditional and newer tools to aid research process.   

In this guide you will find descriptions of six steps to increased visibility and impact of research activity, and recommendations of tools that can help in this process. 

1. Get unique author identifier ORCID to distinguish yourself and your work from that of all other researchers.

2. Share outputs of your research

Publications, preprints, conference papers and posters, presentations, research data, video, code are all evidence of your research activity.  By making them all publicly accessible you increase your visibility, preserve your outputs and make them available for future use.  Moreover, many research funders in the US and overseas require that both publications and underlying data are made available in open access.  A comprehensive list of open access requirement for US Federal, US private and international funders can be found at Carnegie Mellon University Library website.

Great places to make your research outputs available openly are institutional and subject repositories.  OpenDOAR is a comprehensive database of open access repositories.     

At the University of Pittsburgh, you can deposit your research outputs in d-Scholarship.  d-Scholarship can ingest many types of research outputs (including publications, pre-prints, working papers, slides and presentations, dissertations, video and some data sets), is committed to ongoing preservation of these outputs, is indexed by Google for improved discoverability and use and provides statistics of use and impact of deposited materials.  

Popular publication subject repositories include:

  • AgEcon (Agriculture and Applied Economics) maintained by University of Minnesota's Department of Applied Economics 
  • ArXiv - (pre-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics)  Currently maintained by Cornell University Library
  • CiteSeer - (Computer and Information Science)  maintained by College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University
  • PhilPapers - (Philosophy) maintained by the Center for Digital Philosophy at University of Western Ontario
  • PubMedCentral - is a repository for US federally funded research outputs in Medicine.  It is required for all publications supported by NIH (and some other US federal agencies) funding to be deposited in PubMedCentral.  This site explains the mandate and the process.
  • Research Papers in Economics (Repec) is a collaborative effort of volunteers in 86 countries to enhance the dissemination of research in economics and related sciences. It is a bibliographic database of working papers, journal articles, books, books chapters and software components.

  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN) - aims at early dissemination of social science, business, law and economics research.  It allows for deposit of both abstract of working papers and upcoming publications as well as full text of published outputs. 

 

Sharing research data 

A comprehensive list of subject specific and general science data repositories can be found here.  General science repositories, such as figshareDryad Digital Repository or Mendeley Data, handle a variety of data and may be appropriate for storage of associated analyses, or experimental-control data, as a supplement to the primary data record. Some data sets can also be deposited in University of Pittsburgh’s institutional repository d-Scholarship.  Find out more about this option here.

Sharing other research outputs

Slideshare, while not exclusive to the research communityis great for sharing your presentations.  It supports PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote and OpenDocument file types and provides basic usage statistics. F1000Research is an option for researchers in life sciences.  It allows for free deposit of research posters and presentations (please note that publishing articles on the website incurs processing fees).  If you develop code, GitHub may be a great place to deposit it.    
 

3. Create and keep up to date online profile (or a web CV)

These could be simply your personal and institutional web pages or commercial services allowing you to highlight your professional accomplishments and areas of expertise.  Below you will see a more detailed description of  few such tools.  These tools, apart from simply allowing you to list your research outputs will also provide you with additional information relating to their use and impact (for instance, citation counts, downloads or attention on the social web). 

 Google Scholar Citation Profile is a popular tool to showcase your research outputs alongside citations  associated with these outputs.  It also calculates some basic bibliometric indicators of impact such as h-index  and i10-index. You can create your GS citation profile by following these simple steps (please note, you will need a Google account before you begin). 

  1.  Sign to your Google account, or create one if you don't yet have one. Use a personal account, not an account at your    employer, so that you can keep your profile for as long as you wish.
  2. Once you've signed in to your Google account, the Citations sign up form will ask you to confirm the spelling of your name, and to enter your affiliation, interests, etc. Enter your university email address which would make your profile eligible for inclusion in Google Scholar search results.
  3. Next, you'll see groups of articles written by people with names similar to yours. Click "Add all articles" next to each article group that is yours, or "See all articles" to add specific articles from that group. If you don't see your articles in these groups, click "Search articles" to do a regular Google Scholar search, and then add your articles one at a time. 
  4. Once you're done with adding articles, GS will ask you what to do when the article data changes in Google Scholar. You can either have the updates applied to your profile automatically, or you can choose to review them beforehand. In either case, you can always go to your profile and make changes by hand.
  5. Finally, you will see your profile. This is a good time to add a few finishing touches - upload your professional looking photo, visit your university email inbox and click on the verification link, double check the list of articles, and, once you're completely satisfied, make your profile public. Voila - it's now eligible to appear in Google Scholar when someone searches for your name!

 

 ImpactStory is a free online tool that allows you to showcase your research outputs (publications, presentations, data, code, posters, etc.) together with measures of their impact.  Impact story uses ORCID profiles to find and import scholarly works.  To make sure that your Impact story has all your outputs, make sure that you import them to ORCID and sync your ORCID profile with Impactstory.  ImpactStory profiles an be downloaded as json files.  You can view a sample ImpactStory CV here.  

Impactstory gets its data from Altmetric.com, Mendeley nd tweeter for tracing impact and CrossRef and ORCID for identity management and metadata.   

 

 Kudos is a new service that helps researchers promote their research outputs.  It is currently free to use  and allows you to showcase your publications by creating links to full text and including additional  information like short title, lay language explanation, impact statement and link to additional related content such as underlying data, code, video, slides, etc.  In addition, it offers a streamlined process of sharing your content via social media and allows you monitor the results of that activity.

Kudos will monitor:

  • number of tweets posted by author to promote the publication
  • number of Facebook posts by author to promote the publication
  • number of times author has sent email to colleagues/friends with link the 
publication page on Kudos or with the link to the article page on the publisher’s site
  • number of visits to the publication page on Kudos that is generated by 
sharing activities via email or social media
  • total number of visits to publication page on Kudos
  • number of times the publication is downloaded from the publisher’s 
site
  • number of times the publication’s abstract is clicked on or viewed on the 
publisher’s site
  • a score generated by Altmetric.com (which includes tweets, Mendeley and 
CiteULike readership)


A brief YouTube video from Kudos provides more details.   

 
 

At the University of Pittsburgh, you can take an advantage of PlumX, an online researcher profiling tool which collects and presents in a graphical way an online impact of your research outputs including articles, blog posts, books and chapters, clinical trials, conference papers, data sets, figures, patents, posters, presentations, source code, thesis and dissertation and videos.  PlumX monitors Amazon, Bitly, Crossref, Dryad, dSpace, Facebook, Figshare, Github, Google+, Mendeley, PLOS, PubMed, Reddit, SlideShare, Twitter, USPTO, Wikipedia, WorldCat and YouTube.  Learn more about getting your PlumX profile here.    

4. Engage in social networking communities

Another great way to disseminate your research and gain reputation is through active engagement in research networking communities.  These services will allow you to create profiles, showcase your research outputs, identify communities of interest and participate in discussions by posting and answering questions in your network.  All of them will also let you know about impact of your activates in these networks, for instance downloads of your publications, views of your profile and levels of your activity as compared to others in the network.

5. Blog

Blogging is also a great tool for making your research content more visible.  When you write a blog post, you are creating content that can be freely shared via social media.  Blogs content is freely available and not limited by publisher restrictions thus potentially reaching and influencing much wider and diverse audiences.  With a blog you can become part of a network with whom you can share ideas and engage in discourse in your area of interest.  This can enhance your reputation as an expert in your field, allow you to gain valuable feedback on ideas and broaden your professional network. 

Kelly Oaks, a Guardian science writer has the following suggestions for those interested in starting a blog:

•Figure out why you want to blog and who your targeted audience is (potential collaborator, employer, guy on the street)
•Set it up (WordPress or Tumblr?)
•Join a blog network (e.g. ResearchBlogging or ScienceBlogs - see below for more detail)
•Find and stick to your niche
•Link to others and credit their work
•Remember the headline and keywords (so Google can find you)
•Promote your blog on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
•Be regular in your habit
 
Great tips on how to turn your research article into a blog entry comes from Patrick Dunleavy, Political Science Professor at London School of Economics.

 

 

6. Tweet

Twitter is an increasingly popular tool for researchers to popularize their research and build reputation.  Below are some tips on how use it effectively.     
  • Have a decent profile picture and text - this is how people will find you. 
  • Use the Twitter search (or Google search) to find topics that interest you - this will allow you to find and follow people working in your area - and they may, in turn, follow you back.  If someone follows you, unless they are selling snake oil, follow them back.
  • Look out for hash tags for events in your field (conferences/seminars).  Follow them, even (some would say, especially) if you aren’t there.  Comment on tweets that interest you or where you have something to say.
  • Set up search alerts to keep abreast of activity that’s of interest to you.
  • Use a decent Twitter app on your mobile and desktop devices to manage your activity.  (e.g. TweetDeck on the desktop and Echofon on your mobile device)
  • Tweet when your community is most active, and most likely to see your stuff.  Use a service like Buffer to schedule tweets if you are normally tied up in labs or classes when your audience is active.
  • Make use of Twitter lists to organize people you follow into thematic groups so that you don’t miss key things.

Is the effort of blogging or tweeting really worth your time?  Read here about experiences of Melissa Terras, Director of University College London Centre for Digital Humanities, who took all of her academic research, including papers that have been available online for years, to the web and found that her audience responded with a huge leap in interest in her work.