Slides from "The Good Researcher's Guide to Publishing" talk by Charlie Rapple and Laura Simonite from Kudos, February 2017.
Abstract: This session explores the importance of academic reputation, how it is created, and what you can do to enhance yours. We also look at the support the Kudos toolkit can provide in terms of explaining your research to a wider audience,
and measuring the impact of your activities related to spreading the word about your publications using real-life examples and case studies.
The presentation draws on a survey of 3,000 academics in April 2016, and is particularly focused on communication of research both within and around publications.
I thought it was worth going back to basics to start with, and considering the simple question of ”what is reputation” I did some work around this last year, interviewing or surveying over 3,000 authors –I started from this rudimentary point, because I’m curious about how researchers interpret this potentially complex term. And their answers were often unexpected, and thought-provoking.
At the more obvious end of the spectrum, people say that reputation is “being seen to be a leader”, or about the professionalism of how you work with others – how responsive you are, or the quality or timeliness of the work you deliver to them.
What surprises and excites me is that younger researchers – people like you – are starting to talk in terms of brand (their term, here, not mine!). My background is in marketing but I’ve often been hesitant about using the “brand” word with researchers for fear that it’s a commercial, almost dirty word. So I’m fascinated that researchers are beginning to use this language for themselves, and to consider it necessary to think about, build and manage their own personal brand.
One early career researcher I interviewed explained this nicely; she said: ”People want to pigeon-hole you... I applied for a postdoc a few years ago and they said “I don’t quite know who you are”. So you can’t spread yourself too widely – [CLICK] you need to be seen as something specific – and it takes a bit of thought. When I started my current job, I worked to “brand” myself as a drylands specialist working on past and present environmental change and challenges.”
So I guess that’s my first tip for you: it’s never too soon to start thinking about what you want to be known for.
Why else do we need to care about reputation?
One researcher made the relatively obvious point to me that “reputation opens doors”. But what surprised me was another researcher saying that reputation is not about helping you get the job, or the impression you make when you get to interview – it’s about whether you’ll even get a chance to apply – whether you even know that job exists. She flagged up just how many things like jobs, funding, opportunities for volunteering and making connections don’t get advertised; those “recruiting” turn to who they know – so you’ve got to be “known”.
So putting those two points together: Reputation is important because it opens doors. And sometimes they’re doors that you wouldn’t even see if your reputation wasn’t helping them be opened to you.
Another comment that really resonated with me during last year’s project was this early career researcher saying she felt that her more senior academics had built their reputations in an environment where they didn’t really need to be strategic about it, that it was enough to publish your work in the “right” journals, but that this is no longer the case – there’s been a shift in the last generation. She says:
“Academia is a meritocracy, but it’s also about reputation management. More senior academics might not see this, but as a junior academic – and a woman – proactively managing your reputation is really important.”
Her view is that the academic space is so crowded now, so competitive, that just waiting for opportunities to drop into your lap isn’t going to work – you have to be more strategic, and more proactive in building up your activities in these areas.
It isn’t necessarily an easy process: the “old” ways of sharing about your work or participating in the debates in your field tend to favour established academics, And therefore tend to be favoured by those in senior positions – who then frown upon things like social media because they don’t have personal experience of its value in helping to progress academic discourse. But things have changed so much since those people were building their career.
On the other hand, enough people are adopting these new approaches now, that you can’t any longer leave it to chance that your work will be found, applied, and cited. As one of my colleagues says, “crossing your fingers is not a strategy”. …
.. And research is not immune to the cult of celebrity. There’s a risk of people becoming successful because they are better at communicating, not necessarily because they are better at their work. There’s even something called the Kardashian Index which tries to analyse whether there is a relationship between people’s popularity as a communicator and the success of their research.
When somebody comes up with an index like that, it’s a pretty good indicator that this broader approach to research communication is now so common place that Rightly or wrongly, not communicating around your work puts you at a disadvantage.
The relationship between the number of Twitter followers (F) and the number of citations (C) is described as: F=43.3C0.32 The Kardashian Index is thus calculated as:
K – index = F(a) / F(c) where F(a) is the actual number of Twitter followers of researcher X and F(c) is the number researcher should have given their citations.
A high K-index indicates an over-blown scientific fame while a low K-index suggests that a scientist is being undervalued. According to the author, researchers whose K-index > 5 can be considered 'Science Kardashians'.
And of course all these changes are happening in a climate where – funding is at an all time low – winning grants is increasingly competitive – more and more research is taking place – it’s increasingly hard to ensure that your work finds its audience. – and yet you are expected to find an audience, both within and often beyond the field – there’s a growing demand for public engagement with research, even public accountability, and strong focus on “impact” – academic impact, economic impact societal impact, cultural impact.
Taking a proactive approach to building your reputation and building the visibility of your work is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity.
So what should you be doing?
Firstly, while you are ultimately the person best placed to build your reputation, and the person who’s going to benefit from that, There are nonetheless a range of people who have the skills or capacity to help you.
This diagram is from a workshop I led at a conference last year where we talked about who is responsible for the visibility and impact of research: The research office Your department The press office The library The REF team
Do seek out these groups and their service. Despite the best efforts of people like your press office or impact officers to be up to speed with all the research They are still more likely to know your work, and to support you in building its impact and your reputation, If you have brought it to their attention!
Meanwhile, there’s LOTS of ways you can be raising awareness of the work you are doing. This is from last year’s survey. You can see that when given a list of possible reputational activities, people consider that publishing their work, giving talks about it, collaborating with others, and acting as a reviewer for journals in the field are the things that contribute most to their reputation.
[TALK THROUGH EACH OF THESE, BRIEFLY – what you can do in each case, why it builds reputation]
Interestingly, people rank things like blogging and social media quite low in terms of the contribution they make BUT when I interviewed people and asked them what they actually do, as opposed to asking them very specifically to rank things by contribution, things like social media and community contributions were much more prominent in the conversation. There’s a sense that people are experimenting with new approaches such as social media, but not yet able to measure the impact of these actions. So the chart here really shows that people rank more highly those activities with a more easily definable, reportable effect on meaningful metrics.
My colleagues and I set up Kudos to solve this challenge and make it possible for people to track a wider range of activities against “meaningful” metrics such as views, downloads, discussion and citations of your work
Survey demographics About 3,000 academics responded, about half of which are still completing their PhD or within 10 years of doing so. just under half were in Europe (about 20% in each of Asia and North America). About three quarters were STM, a quarter social sciences, and because we allowed people to choose multiple options, another 15% arts and humanities!
Just a quick word around metrics:
None of us has a lot of time for building our reputation or the visibility of our work, so you want to keep track of which tools and activities are actually increasing your impact.
Some of the potential metrics by which research performance is measured are more established and familiar than others – citations are obviously the most recognized measure of academic impact, and underpin widely-used metrics like the Impact Factor (for journals) or the h-index (for people). But in the digital age there are many more metrics that can be tracked – such as how many times your work has been shared or mentioned online, clicks and views, downloads.
The attention being paid to your work – shares and mentions – is what is captured by altmetric services – you might be familiar with the colourful donuts of “Altmetric.com”
Meanwhile publishers are beginning to track downloads at the article rather than journal level, and in some cases to share this with authors. Each of these metrics is important in different ways – that’s why I put them on this spectrum. There’s a lot of debate about whether there are correlations between the different kinds of metrics e.g. does mentions in social media correlate to citations? But more important perhaps is to recognise the value of each kind of attention or response to your work, in its own right – they are measuring different things.
What we’re trying to do at Kudos is bring as many metrics as possible together in one dashboard so that you don’t have to become expert in the existence and whereabouts of different metrics – but you can look at them all and begin to understand which of your efforts to build your reputation and communicate your work are actually building readership, citations or other things that matter to you.
In a moment I’m going to hand over to Laura to show you how the Kudos system works – it’s free, and worth signing up for if you want to make a head start on building your reputation.
Kudos provides you with a “profile” page for each work you publish Here you can ”explain” your work in plain language by answering two simple questions: what is it about why is it important. You can also add links to all your slides, data, videos, press coverage, anything else online that relates to the work.
These explanations and links help a broader range of people find and understand your work, Maximizing the chance that it will be read, discussed, cited and applied.
Then we give you a trackable link for sharing the work. If you’re a social media user, you can connect up your Facebook, Twitter or LInkedIn accounts and actually post to them directly from your Kudos page. But you can also take our trackable link and paste it into an email, or a blog post, or a presentation, or a reading list etc.
It’s that trackable link that then enables us to map your communication effort against your publication metrics.
What you see on the right there is our “basket of metrics” – Kudos is the only site where you can see in one place what you did to share your work how many people acted on that what effect that’s had on views of your work, downloads, online discussion and citations.
Kudos can therefore tell you what kinds of communications tools or actions are more or less effective for you in terms of building and sustaining your reputation. A related advantage is that we can help you justify time spent on communications – to yourself, or to your supervisors and so on – because we can also show communications as a whole do increase impact….
…About 18 months ago, the Altmetric research group at Nanyang Technological Institute in Singapore asked if they could take a dump of our data and undertake some analysis of the effectiveness of what we’re doing. There were about 5,000 articles in a test group, which had been shared through Kudos, and a similarly sized control group of articles for which the Kudos tools had not been used.
The team looked at average downloads of these articles on the various publishers’ websites, and found that articles for which the Kudos tools had been used had 23% higher downloads on average than those articles for which the tools weren’t used.
You can share through multiple channels – and we show you which is most effective – not always what people expect! The Nanyang study we mentioned earlier (which showed that using Kudos leads to 23% higher readership) also showed that Facebook is the channel most commonly used for sharing. It also showed that, typically, links shared via LinkedIn are more likely to be clicked.
BUT as you can see Dr Haque’s case, actually Facebook has been substantially better for him. It’s that kind of PERSONAL insight for which Kudos is so valuable – we can report to publishers, societies and institutions about “what works” at those “group” levels, and this does of course mean they can provide more tailored guidance to researchers, by field, or career level, for example, but actually the answer to the question “where should I share” is very personal, depending as it does on the quality of your own network in each channel. So only Kudos can show you, personally, what is the best way to communicate your work.
Also, you’ll note here that this publication doesn’t yet have an Altmetric score, or any citations in Web of Science. So other metrics systems would not give a very good impression of its impact. And yet Kudos can show that there has been a much higher level of interest in the work, including over 216 views on Kudos and over 50 people clicking through to read the work on the IET website.
So Kudos gives you a much richer picture of the performance of your work and enables you to demonstrate that against a broader range of metrics, which is particularly valuable for early career researchers.
The last step in the process is to come back and see the effect of your efforts!
As well as showing you all the metrics in one basket, as on the previous slide, Kudos also creates graphs for you, Mapping actions against results.
Here you go can see the actions that Dr Haque took to explain and share his work, Mapped against the views of his work in Kudos (purple line)
The actions are plotted with an A symbol (for author) – when you mouse over it, the list of actions shows up. If the publisher takes actions to support you, these are then shown on the graph with a P symbol – so it’s very easy to see how your own efforts, and those of the organizations around you, are contributing to the overall performance of the work.
“Academia is a meritocracy,
but it’s also about
More senior academics might not see this, but as a
junior academic – and a woman –
proactively managing your
reputation is really important.”
The Kardashian Index
the discrepancy between a scientist's social media profile and publication record
… Rightly or wrongly,
NOT communicating about your work
puts you at a disadvantage
competition for funding
huge growth in outputs
fight for visibility and usage
drive for accountability
cult of impact
can you build your reputation?
Press offic e
Press & comms
Researc h offic e
Resea rch d evelop ment
Researc h outputs adviser
Researc h operations
Imp a ct
Imp a ct
cha mp ions
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Commercializing your research /…
Engaging with the media
Communicating via social media
Community contribution (e.g. activities…
Winning awards / prizes
Winning funding / grants
Presenting at conferences
How do academics
activities in terms of
(n = 2,748)
Explaining, sharing, measuring – Kudos
Range of metrics
against which to map
efforts to explain and
Communications do increase impact
Nanyang Technological Institute study, 2015
Explaining and sharing via Kudos
higher downloads of
full text on publisher sites
The Kudos toolkit
for increasing reach and impact
You only need
and password to
…and find a publication
• Some words from the publication title
and part of your name
• or the DOI if you know it!
• TIP: use your ORCID if you have one
Explain your work
in plain language:
short title, “what’s
it about?”, “why is
Explain people using non-specialist terms
to find otherwise “hidden” works
people within your field
to skim and scan more publications
people in adjacent fields
to understand the relevance of your work
to what they are doing
people outside academia
to get a handle on research and
apply it in non-academic ways
people who can access it
to actually understand it!
important because they have
a significant impact on
quantity, timing and
seasonality of energy
Add links to related
‘resources’ that help to
bring your work to life,
set it in context, or drive
further research (code,
methods, data, slides,
video, press coverage,
blog postings etc)
trackable links for you to
share via your email, web
and social networks; this
gives you unique insight
into which tools are
It’s not a huge effort …
When the investment of time per
paper is approx 3-6 months, almost
any reasonable duration is
acceptable to increase
the usage and citations.
Physical Sciences, UK
… but it delivers great results!
@growkudos #GRGP2017 www.growkudos.com