Thursday, 28 April 2016

How to use social media to further your scientific career and build your personal research profile


How to use social media to further your scientific career and build your personal research profile

07 April 2016
media is having a growing impact on scientific research. Scientists are
using social platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and ResearchGate to
keep track of the latest publications in their field, seek advice, start
collaborations, find new research tools and troubleshoot their
experiments, to name just a few. To have a strong and lasting impact on
the scientific community, modern researchers need to utilise the power
of social media to share their expertise, research tools and
experiences. In this week’s blog, we explore how you can get started
with building your online scientific profile using social media.


The web has revolutionised how people share and find information.
However, the growing impact of social media over the last few years has
been especially interesting, with sites such as Facebook, Twitter and
LinkedIn becoming truly embedded within Western culture (for example,
Facebook has over a billion registered users!).

The social web provides researchers with new opportunities to connect with likeminded peers, find and share new information and research tools,
and even get credit for their research through platforms such as
Altmetrics. This site describes almetrics as “metrics and qualitative
data that are complementary to traditional, citation-based metrics
[that] can include… peer reviews on Faculty of 1000, citations on
Wikipedia and in public policy documents, discussions on research blogs,
mainstream media coverage, bookmarks on reference managers like
Mendeley, and mentions on social networks such as Twitter.”

As such, scientists can now leverage social media to build their
research profiles in the same way that they have traditionally used
speaking slots and posters at conferences, as well as the publication of
peer-reviewed papers. The key difference is speed and frequency. While
most researchers publish every few months (or years), social media
allows researchers to continually contribute to their field and be part
of an ongoing discussion. If we take the extended definition of social
media and include blogging and other publishing tools, then researchers
can also utilise the medium to share, discuss and encourage real-time
feedback on their data, experiences and protocols.

Given these opportunities, it is unsurprising that many scientists
are starting to adopt social media as a tool for engaging in scientific
discussion and building their research profile. Other benefits of
creating a strong online personal brand include being able to easily:

  • Connect with peers, students and suppliers and start new collaborations
  • Get involved in discussions during events
  • Establish your reputation as an expert and a thought leader
  • Influence and mentor a potentially global audience
  • Keep up-to-date with relevant science news

9 steps to building your online reputation

Most of the social media platforms are free to use and make it easy
to start building an online presence right away. Here are nine things
you can do today to start building your online research profile:

  1. Create a professional profile
    (Bio/CV/list of research interests/researcher ID/photo) and upload to
    relevant sites such as LinkedIn and ResearchGate
  2. Find connections (peers, colleagues etc.) and link with them on social media platforms 
  3. Find relevant groups to join and seek opportunities to mentor online
  4. Share your reagents via online marketplaces
  5. Share your protocols online
  6. Share reviews of scientific reagents
    and tools, to help others make more informed decisions on which reagents
    to use for their experiments
  7. Optimise your research news stream to show only relevant news
  8. Keep track of your online stats (e.g. mentions)
  9. Upload relevant science presentations
    e.g. to SlideShare and share them with the community via sites such as
    Twitter, LinkedIn, ResearchGate etc.

Online portals for scientific networking

There are many different social media platforms that you could use
for your scientific network, but each is currently being used by
researchers in subtly different ways. To explore these trends in more
detail, Nature conducted a survey in 2014 to find out which platforms scientists used and how they used them. The results are summarised in the table below:


In summary, while Facebook isn’t used much professionally by
scientists at the current time, ResearchGate, and LinkedIn
are used to publish profiles and Mendeley and Twitter are used to
communicate news. Therefore, we recommend reviewing these channels first
when starting to build your online research profile.

Other ways to use the internet to enhance your research impact and build your scientific profile

Creating a strong online profile is just one of the ways you can use the internet to boost the impact of your work on science and society.
To learn about other online tools that facilitate the effective sharing
of reagents, protocols, reviews, experiences and data, download our new
ebook today.


How to use social media to further your scientific career and build your personal research profile

No comments:

Post a Comment