Online Researcher Communities - Who What And Why


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Workshop presented by Emma Gillaspy and Liz Dodson at the first Vitae Research Staff conference in November 2009 (

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  • Quick intro for both of us 5min
  • (Led by EG)Objectives of the session, any from the floor? 2min
  • (Led by LD)Let’s get the negative out of the way at the start of today’s session! We have brainstormed a few issues we believe affect research staff including…In your small groups, have a quick chat about these and any other issues you feel affect you5min inc feedbackBear these in mind throughout today’s session as you may well find advice and support to help you with these issues in the digital world.
  • (Led by EG)Now we have discussed some of the issues you face, consider how you are viewed and assessed by others around you in the research world. These activities are probably the main way other researchers and academics know who you are and what you do. Are there any other activities you would like to add to this list?
  • (Led by EG)Now consider those activities in light of the fact that we live in a digital world. Most of us are very used to using digital technologies on a day to day basis including Facebook, Twitter, Powerpoint, Email etc.
  • (Led by EG)In your groups, think about current activities and tools you use as a researcher, digital or otherwise, and how others may view them. – consider the pros and cons of these different toolsAlso have a think about how technologies can be used to help support those activities.5minFeedback to the group5min
  • (Led by EG)Here are a few activities I brainstormed around researcher roles. I have broken them down into the 4 main activities of writing/reading, multimedia, networking and information management. I have then listed some tools you might use to complete each activity. When you go away today, have a think about this diagram and design your own strategy for developing a digital identity that works for you.
  • (Led by EG)A good way of seeing the extent of your current digital identity is to Google yourself. Who’s done this and how did you feel about the results? Were you there in the top ten? Professional/private content? As expected or surprised? Pleased…disappointed…worried!?The more you engage with tools such as those on the previous diagram, the more you will see your digital identity enhanced.
  • Led by LD
  • (Led by EG)Here are 3 examples of using web 2.0 tools to develop your digital identity
  • (Led by EG)Cristina Mendes Da Costa is a researcher who has gone down the personal route for her blog and website. She has successfully integrated her personal and professional profiles and is well known in the digital world.
  • (Led by EG)Andrew Gray is Curator of Hepatology at the Manchester Museum. He is passionate about his research on a specific species of frog and has developed this frogblog all about this research area. He has a fabulous reputation through his work on the blog and his public engagement activities so this is a great example of a successful research area blog
  • (Led by EG)The GetSETWomen Blog is a really good example of a collective blog where women in the SET subjects can post about anything they like. It has developed a great sense of community and has many active and passive bloggers.
  • (Led by LD)As you may know the Vitae RS blog was recently launched…. (Liz to explain features/advantages of the blog and how easy it is to start blogging)Excellent way to reach out to other researchers and share experiences1 golden rule: think before you post
  • (Led by EG)Thinking back to the issues for RS we discussed at the start of the workshop, spend the next 10 minutes deciding what you need from an online community for researchers.Small group work10minFeedback5min
  • COS & LinkedIn - (Led by LD) JISCmail? – (Led by EG)What does everyone else use and why?10min contributions from the floor
  • Online Researcher Communities - Who What And Why

    1. 1. Online researcher communities - who, what and why?<br />Dr Emma Gillaspy, Vitae North West Hub Manager, University of Manchester<br />Dr Elizabeth Dodson, Senior Researcher, Loughborough University<br />
    2. 2. About us<br />
    3. 3. Objectives for today<br />Explore the digital world and how researchers can use it to:<br />develop their reputation through a digital identity<br />advance research<br />decrease isolation<br />Explore what the ideal online community for research staff would look like<br />Others?<br />
    4. 4. Research staff - issues<br />Isolation<br />Gap in support from PGR to academic<br />Fixed-term employment with limited opportunities for progression<br />Lack of defined career path<br />Independence from supervisor:<br />Publications<br />Funding<br />Status and recognition<br />Others?<br />
    5. 5. Your life as a researcher<br />Academic outputs (papers etc)<br />Dissemination<br />Collaboration<br />Professional development (formal and informal learning)<br />Reputation<br />Others?<br />
    6. 6. Living in a digital world<br />Social bookmarking<br />Podcasting (sharing audio)<br />Blogging<br />Chat <br />Wiki’s<br />Slide sharing<br />RSS<br />Searching<br />
    7. 7. Current activities and tools<br /><ul><li>What research activities do you currently do and what tools do you use?
    8. 8. How do you think technology can be used to support:
    9. 9. Group or project communication and collaboration
    10. 10. Research dissemination and wider community engagement
    11. 11. Conferences
    12. 12. Ways in which you present yourself and your work
    13. 13. Data collection and analysis</li></li></ul><li>Developing a digital identity<br />
    14. 14. Digital Identity:Google yourself<br />
    15. 15. General Principles of Online Interaction<br />Understand how public and permanent your online footprint is (see<br />Be aware that your current or future employers could choose to explore that online footprint!<br />Do not say anything online that you would not say face to face<br />Avoid spamming and flaming<br />Be aware that it is easy to misinterpret irony, sarcasm etc… without tone of voice or expressions to guide<br />Consider who you are talking to…<br />
    16. 16. Developing your digital identity - 3 examples of useful tools<br /><ul><li>Slideshare
    17. 17. Sharing PowerPoint presentations, disseminating your research to a wider audience, comments on your slides
    18. 18. Twitter
    19. 19. The latest news, ideas, conference back channel, social and work, community
    20. 20. Twitter in plain English
    21. 21. Top reasons to use Twitter
    22. 22. Blogging
    23. 23. Reflection, archive of research, peer critique, disseminating
    24. 24. Personal / research area?
    25. 25. Individual / collective?
    26. 26. Blogs in plain English
    27. 27. Top reasons to blog</li></li></ul><li><br />
    28. 28.<br />
    29. 29.<br />
    30. 30.<br />
    31. 31. What do you need from an online community for researchers?<br /><ul><li>What knowledge will it share and develop?
    32. 32. Content
    33. 33. Subject specific
    34. 34. Institutional / regional / national
    35. 35. What will success look like?
    36. 36. How will it survive and prosper
    37. 37. How will it benefit you</li></ul>How will the community operate? <br />Existing or new<br />Just for RS<br />Who/what drivers<br />What resources will it need? <br />Monetary<br />Time<br />Commitment<br />
    38. 38. Useful tools<br />Communities of Science ( Free online professional profile, funding search, collaborator search<br />LinkedIn ( Professional Facebook!<br />Connotea ( Free online reference manager, access your references from any computer, share references<br />Dropbox ( Free online storage accessible in a Windows Explorer format, share and edit files/folders with others without having to download them locally, great for collaboration!<br />Google ( Google Scholar, Google Docs, iGoogle homepage, Picasa<br />YouTube ( Great ‘how to’ videos as well as a bit of fun!<br /> ( World’s leading researchers and thinkers, great for inspiration and motivation, pick up tips for public speaking<br />PubMed bookshelf ( Free online versions of many biomedical books<br />
    39. 39. Our online presence<br />Vitae NW Hub:<br /><br /><br /><br />Vitae RS blog:<br /><br />Liz Dodson:<br /><br /><br />