Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Digital Student - Research networking


social media

Research networks are a sub-set of professional social
networks. They have much of the same functionality as professional
networks but also offer research specific tools. This includes
specialist Q&As, data sharing, research sharing, comment, suggested
reading and disciplinary networking. This functionality has had a
notable impact on research as it allows geographically diverse
researchers to network and discuss very specific and niche areas of
research. This helps to build inter-disciplinary boundaries and
facilitate international networking.

The tools these websites provide forms a new wave of research
collaborative and dissemination. Some of the research networks are
purposefully anti-establishment and were created as opposition to
existing publishing techniques. As such, a lot of these websites embrace
the principles of open source publishing and work towards providing
unrestricted access to scholarly research. However, unlike true open
access sources, they often require users to register for a free account
to gain access.

One of the most important tools that most research networks
provide is knowledge discovery. While traditional databases allow users
to search for articles, research networks feature social curation of
papers into themes. It is always worth checking these sites as part of
your literature searches. You may discover papers that the University of
Hull does not subscribe to.

While these websites can be incredibly useful tools for
researchers, it can be argued that they can be a waste of valuable time
if not engaged with correctly. As with all social networks, these
websites can be used on a daily basis to network or they can be
used only when needed. It is therefore the choice of the researcher as
to how they engage. It is also important to consider that all content on
these websites and networks is not peer-reviewed (unless it is a shared
paper from an academic source such as a journal.  For this reason, it
is important researchers are critical in their use of these tools.

Academics talk about using social media

A lot of PhD students and researchers aim to continue their career in
academia. Here three academics talk about how their use of social

List of academic networks

Here are some of the world-leading research networks.

ResearchGate is a social networking site that enables
researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find
collaborators. As well as the regular profile and messaging tools, it
offers researchers the ability to follow research interests, share their
data, comment and view access stats. The website features
a proprietary metric to measure scientific reputation. It is called the
RG Score and it works by analysing how "your research is received by
your peers"
( is a platform for academics to share
research papers. The company's mission is to accelerate the world's
research. As well as the regular profile and messaging tools, it offers
researchers the ability to create sessions asking for comment and
critique of their work, follow research interests, comment and
access analytics. 

Mendeley is first and foremost a bibliographic
management tool. Alongside the functionality for managing papers and
citing them, it also has a series of knowledge discover tools. There are
some social tools enabling researchers to develop a profile, specify
research interests, share bibliographic information and send messages. 


Figshare is a repository where users
can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable
and discoverable manner. Figshare allows users to
upload any file format to be made visualisable in the browser so that
figures, datasets, media, papers, posters, presentations and filesets
can be disseminated in a way that the current scholarly publishing model
does not allow.


JiscMail helps groups of individuals to communicate
& discuss education/research interests using email discussion lists.
There are thousands of JISCMail lists that you can subscribe to - it is
worth checking with researchers in your field to see if there is
anything relevant. These lists work by creating a special email address
for subscribers. When any subscriber sends an email to this address, it
sends it to everyone on the list. This allows discussions and debates to
develop across the subscription community.

Academic blogs

Blogs are discussion or informational websites that
consist of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse
chronological order. A large number of academics, researchers and
doctoral students publish posts to blogs. This makes them a useful
source of information and networking (via the comments tool). As blogs
can have single or multiple contributors, posts are usually tagged with
the authors (user)name.



While covered on the social network page, Twitter also serves as a useful academic network. Check out this Twitter Guide for Academics.


While covered on the professional network page, LinkedIn also serves as a useful academic network. Check out this guide on How to become an academic networking pro on LinkedIn.

The Digital Student - Research networking

1 comment:

  1. Start your research in a single, searchable interface with zotero. Enables one to find exactly what you're looking for with just a few keystrokes.