Social Media for Disseminating Research


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This presentation was given at the Taster Session for 'Beyond the REF' conference at the IOE (21st March 2014).

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Social Media for Disseminating Research

  1. 1. The Newsam Library & Archives Making the most of Social Media Nazlin Bhimani, Research Support & Special Collections Librarian Beyond the REF: 21st March 2014 Institute of Education, University of London
  2. 2. Today’s session  Introduction to Social Media  What, Why, How  Task(s)
  3. 3. Source: Minocha, S. and Petre, M. Handbook of Social Media for Researchers and Supe Available at publications/reports/innovate-open-university- social-media-handbook-vitae-2012.pdf/view
  4. 4. What is social media? Definition from the Social Media Handbook: Social media is an online environment opened for the purposes of mass collaboration, where all invited participants can create, post, rate, enhance, discover, consume, and share content without a direct intermediary (Bradley and McDonald, 2011). The term media in this context is a collaboration environment characterised by storage and transmission of messages around and about content, while social describes the distinct way these messages propagate as one-to-many and many-to-many conversations. Social media, therefore, is a new form of communication that is changing behaviour and expectations of researchers, employers and funding bodies. It is transforming one-way monologues into collaborative dialogues and interactions thus democratising information and knowledge. crowdsourcing interactive social justice
  5. 5. Why use social media? This quote from an article by G. Small in Nature (2011), 479, p. 141, summarises how new technologies are changing the way in which the research dialogues are being conducted: The real value of social media for scientists (aside from teaching us to communicate concisely) may be that we are forced to think about how to share ideas with a broader audience, one that ultimately pays for most of our research: taxpayers. Public conversations about our research make [social] scientists accountable for delivering something of value to those taxpayers. In an era of budget cutting, early- career [social] scientists will have to be effective ambassadors for the profession. This might manifest in conversations with family members or with strangers sitting next to us on a plane, or it might mean posting videos on YouTube or blogging about our ongoing research. The days of [social] scientists communicating only with each other, in the languages of our individual disciplines, and relying on [social] science journalists to translate for the public, are rapidly coming to an end. open access
  6. 6. Altmetrics vs. Citations Only 25% of academic research is published in mainstream avenues; 90% of papers published in academic journals are never cited; 50% never read by anyone but author, editor & reviewers. (Source: Impact is no longer about just publishing in peer-reviewed journals but about altmetrics on social media which look at what’s being talked about on the social web. (Source:
  7. 7. Your digital presence Social media is not just for socializing. When handled correctly, you can use it to enhance your personal brand, establish your expertise, or demonstrate your digital fluency. Commit to using social media for professional reasons and be proactive about managing your activity and image. Consider what potential employers or colleagues will see - you don't want them to discover only pictures of you and your dog, or worse. Make sure at a minimum you have a LinkedIn account with a completed profile. Try tweeting or blogging about your area of expertise, thereby creating content that others can forward, re-tweet, or repost. This can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Source: Harvard Business Review Management Tip, 9 March 2012, online [accessed 16 August 2012]
  8. 8. Digital footprint Social networking provides you with the opportunity to create a digital identify  To disseminate research to the public (reach the people you would not normally reach e.g. CEO, funders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists etc);  To begin a dialogue with other researchers, the government and the public;  To network and collaborate;  To attract future employers; and  To establish yourself as the expert in your field (self promotion is important today).  To demonstrate your digital literacy skills/digital fluency
  9. 9. but ... Remember – your digital footprint is your professional identity so keep it PROFESSIONAL
  10. 10. Copyright and other IPRs  Be careful about what you put up – read the terms and conditions of the site carefully before you give away your life’s work e.g. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube - find out who owns the copyright  Do not divulge personal names as you will be in breach of agreements you have either with individuals or with the institution’s ethics approval process see: to download the guidelines  Acknowledge content of others – understand the copyright law, the creative commons licenses etc. See:
  11. 11. Researcher Workflow social media in your workflow
  12. 12. How?
  13. 13. The Digital Researcher  In order to establish your online presence on the Internet, as a minimum, we recommend that you have a presence on: Google Scholar LinkedIn Twitter ResearchGate and/or  Once you are established and feel comfortable, you may want to consider having your own blog or blogging on your organisation's blog to establish your expertise.  At a later stage, you may want to consider online networking and sharing information on Academic Gate, Mendeley and/or Zotero.