Thursday, 19 December 2019

Introduction to “Research Tools”: Tools for Publishing, and Improving Research Visibility

Today, I had a presentation at the 9th International Conference on Management of Technology & Innovation (IRAMOT2019). The presentation file is available online at
#academicwriting #researchimpact #researchtools #researchvisibility #rankings #academicresearch #IRAMOT2019

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Visibility: Build your online presence: Scholarly publishing


Visibility: Build your online presence: Scholarly publishing

Scholarly Publishing and Open Access plus a stylized book with the open access symbol

Why have a web presence?

If you have a thoughtful, curated, and professional academic web presence, your research is more likely to be found, read, discussed, and shared online.
As there are no shortage of platforms and mediums for participation in online academic discourse, before you start building an academic web presence, consider:
  • Your objectives: are you creating a web presence to promote your research, connect with collaborators, engage in scholarly discussion, or to find a job?
  • Your audience: what communities do you wish to engage with, and what platforms are they on?
  • Your privacy: What do you want current and future colleagues, supervisors, and students to find? How can you manage what information about you is available?
  • Your energy: how much time to you want to devote to developing and maintaining your profile(s)?
When building your web presence, be sure to create a unique research profile to distinguish your work from that of others with the same or a similar name, and to make sure all your scholarly work is accessible in one place.

Promoting your work online

Researcher profiles such as ORCID

Creating a researcher profile in your name will help to distinguish your work from that of others who may have the same name. It also provides a persistent link back to your work. These platforms usually require limited upkeep as they automatically update when you publish new research.
Want to distinguish yourself from other researchers and automatically link your professional publications and activities?
Distinguish yourself with ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID

Personal websites

A personal website is an effective way to enhance your online presence and to share information about your professional and academic work and achievements. A well-designed, professional website will serve to demonstrate your work’s impact and connect you with other researchers and professionals.

Information to include on your personal website

Your personal website can include a wide range of information about your personal and academic work and role, including your name, title, and affiliated research institution. You may wish to include the following sections in addition to other relevant information:
  • Bio & professional photo
  • CV
  • Research interests
  • Link to your ORCID record (not sure why you need an ORCID iD? Learn more.)
  • List of current or selected publications
  • Personal or professional blog

Choosing a platform

Many website platforms allow you to build a basic website for free using simple tools. Examples such as WordPress, Weebly and Wix use straightforward, non-technical interfaces while giving you flexibility with the design and content of your site.
If you are looking to host a site yourself, Reclaim Hosting is a relatively low-cost option, designed specifically for the education sector.
Example personal websites:
Alternatively, many faculty members and some graduate students are provided with a personal website on their departmental web portal, and may choose to update this website rather than duplicating their efforts.
Example departmental profiles:
Get started creating your academic website!


Blogging is another way of increasing your online presence, and allows you to take a more informal approach to sharing your thoughts and observations on pertinent topics in your field of research. It can connect you with other researchers with similar interests and demonstrate your ongoing awareness and expertise in the field. Blog posts can be shared via social media channels and provide interesting content to enhance your social media presence.
While maintaining your own blog can be a rewarding experience, it can be challenging to keep your blog up-to-date. Depending on the amount of time you would like to commit to writing regular blog posts, you may find it less of a commitment to contribute guest posts to existing blogs either in your discipline or department.
Learn more about academic blogging with this 2013 article from The Guardian: Academic blogging - 10 top tips.
Looking for an example? Why not check out Radical Access: The SFU Scholarly Publishing Blog.

Social media

Participating in online scholarly communities such as Twitter or Facebook can increase the visibility of your work and can help you stay connected in your field of research.

Follow these steps to get started on Twitter

  1. Create a Twitter account
  2. Use Twitter Lists to organize information
  3. Share your research, ideas, questions and updates 
  4. Follow other researchers and participate in discussions
  5. Track shares of your research articles by searching for the title or DOI
The following resources can help you get started using social media in academia:

Develop a unique voice


One advantage of personal websites, blogs, and social media profiles is that they give us an opportunity to be ourselves online. This authenticity is important, as often when potential collaborators, fellow colleagues, or current students seek out our online profiles it’s to learn more about who we “really are,” beyond what classes we are teaching or our most recent publication. To that extent, these forums usually have a more casual tone, are highly topical, and give researchers a chance to explore and express their passion. Showcasing a strong and recognizable voice and publicly establishing your expertise in a subject area may encourage others to consider you for collaboration opportunities or for such things as presenting as a conference keynote.


  • Take a class in plain language writing - try expressing your research for a Grade 9 reading level
  • Check out other researcher’s blogs or social media pages - see the links below for information on how to find your people
  • Start a personal journal - your entries could form the basis of your blog post

A word of caution

“Remember: All social media posts are a form of publication. If you would not write it in an academic review, don’t blog about it or post it on Twitter or Facebook” (Cain, 2017).
Online platforms are a source of inspiration, discovery, and delight, but they can also be a forum for hate, negativity, and exclusion. Do your part to ensure that you are contributing positively to the discourse.
Consider -  is the content that you are creating, sharing, or contributing to:
  • At least mostly relevant or of interest to your desired audience?
  • Reflective of your personal (and/or professional) values and ethics?
  • Something you would be happy for a potential collaborator, grant administrator, or current student to see? 
The answer to all of these questions should be a vehement “yes.”

Commercial scholarly networking platforms

Many academics are members of popular commercial scholarly networking tools, such as or ResearchGate. These platforms are usually free to join, but charge fees for premium services that provide authors with information about who is reading their work. It is for this reason that while commercial scholarly networking platforms may seem like attractive tools for disseminating your research or locating prospective collaborators, we do not recommend using them. Consider selecting a free, not-for-profit alternative such as ORCID.
It is important to note that posting your work to a commercial scholarly networking profile usually does not fulfill open access or knowledge mobilization grant requirements; these are fulfilled by depositing work in institutional or subject repositories (such as Summit, SFU’s research repository). Depositing your work in a repository guarantees preservation and long-term access to your work, setting repositories apart from scholarly networking platforms. See a social networking site is not an open access repository for details about the differences between these resources.
Authors should always review their copyright transfer agreements before making their work available online. See Know your rights as an author for more information about author rights.

Knowledge mobilization: Extend the reach of your research

Knowledge mobilization includes the processes by which research is translated or synthesized into plain language and made available for the public. SSHRC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, defines it more broadly as "[t]he reciprocal and complementary flow and uptake of research knowledge between researchers, knowledge brokers and knowledge users—both within and beyond academia—in such a way that may benefit users and create positive impacts" (SSHRC, 2018).
Successful knowledge mobilization strategies ensure that academic research can be used by teachers, policy makers, health care practitioners, and the general public to make evidence-based decisions that will effect real world change.

Get started with knowledge mobilization

Increase your impact

For more information about increasing your impact, please see our guide to research impact and metrics.

Interdisciplinary writing and research

Working with researchers in disciplines other than your own has benefits such as giving your work a broader reach and offering more exposure to your publications.
Article-level metrics are one method available for identifying interdisciplinary research opportunities by seeing who is citing and using your work from other disciplines.

Top 10 tips on how to make your open access research visible online


Top 10 tips on how to make your open access research visible online

Brian Kelly
So you’ve deposited your research paper in your institution’s online repository, now what? Just because it’s online, doesn’t automatically mean it’ll get lots of interest, you can harness the power of the social web to promote your papers and engage with your peers.
Here are a number of tips which I feel can help researchers make use of social media and related online activities to maximise the visibility of their research papers.
These are based on my personal experiences and I’ve learnt a lot through trying to make my own papers more visible:
1. Be pro-active:
For example, for the delivery of a recent paper, the co-authors agreed a plan on how to inform the members of our professional networks. We uploaded the paper to the institutional repository and included the URL on our presentation slides, which were then uploaded to SlideShare (an online resource for sharing slides) shortly before the presentation. This meant that could write blog posts with appropriate short URLs available in advance, which we could use whilst we responded to questions on social media channels such as Twitter during the presentation. The key is to find the opportunities you have to promote your work and then make sure you maximise these by being prepared.
2. Monitor what works:
Monitor where people are getting your report from to find out the best channels for promoting it. A good way to do this is through usage statistics. Look at SlideShare and YouTube views and Google Analytics (which can tell you how many visits you have had to a page and track where they are coming from). Websites like Topsy provide statistics on URL usage and Twitter hashtags (these mark your work on a subject area and mean you can monitor twitter responses and activity). Topsy can also provide comparisons with previous work and approaches taken by your peers.
3. Make it easy for readers:
Make it easy for those who are interested in your research to access your research by providing links to the papers. Remember that they’ll want to read the paper and not the metadata about the paper, so provide direct links to the paper or key parts of it. You may find that readers view your papers in mobile devices – perhaps even in bed! So consider making your paper available in a mobile-friendly format such as HTML (this is the ‘language’ that web pages are written in).
4. Don’t forget the links:
Between 50-80% of traffic to institutional repositories come from Google. A good way to ensure you come up near the top of a search is to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques, making sure key words in the content are placed effectively to increase web traffic. For papers hosted in open access repositories you will probably not be able to address ‘on-the-page SEO’ - tailoring the content or headings. Therefore it will be important to provide ‘off-the-page SEO’ – links to the repository item.
5. Encourage feedback and discussion:
Unlike repositories, social media stories are often decided by support feedback and discussion. We can exploit this feature by being involved with these discussions, use it as an opportunity to answer questions or correct mistakes and ask for feedback.
6. Develop your network:
Seek to grow your network and create new contacts. For example, conferences that you attend may have their own Twitter hashtag (which people can search by to find out information on the event). This provides you with an ideal opportunity to develop your Twitter network. You could follow other researchers who have similar interests to yourself, or tweet about the conference.
7. Understand your social media network:
Understanding who is getting to your information and how is key to successful promotion, and is the same with social media. Twitter analytics tools such as SocialBro can provide insights into your network, by showing you who your followers are.
8. Know your limits in the social media environment:
‘Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn,, YouTube... I haven’t got the time!’ Remember that you can’t expect to make use of every social web service which is available. Prioritise channels based on relevance and the potential to reach your key audiences. Analysing these channels will help you to prioritise.
9. Seek improvements:
Reflect on your use of social media and online services and identify improvements you can make. If things aren’t working, change it!
10. And finally my top piece of advice... participate!
If you’re not there you can’t reap the benefits!
I hope these tips are helpful. More information can be found in the slides I used for my presentation in Open Access week or on my blog.

10 Ways to Boost the Impact of Your Research


Seven ways to increase the visibility of your research


Seven ways to increase the visibility of your research

This post is by Library Research Support Advisor, Sally Dalton
So, you’ve published your research and you’re now hoping to sit back, relax and get ready for all those citations to roll in?
Unfortunately the hard work doesn’t stop here!
Now you need to promote your research to make sure it reaches the widest possible audience, this is part of the job of being a researcher. By making your research more visible you could potentially open up future collaboration / job / publication opportunities, increase citations to your work and increase the number of people finding, reading and building on your work.
Image source: (CC-0)

1. Promote your research at conferences

Conferences are a great opportunity to promote yourself and your research. Even if you aren’t presenting your work you can use the conference as an opportunity to meet other researchers and start to develop your research network. Keep an eye out for names of researchers you would like to meet and practice introducing yourself and your research. You may only have a few minutes so make sure you’re prepared!

2. Carefully consider which journals you are going to publish in

Choosing where to publish in an academic matter but there are certain questions you may want to ask yourself before choosing where to publish. Are the articles in the journal easily discoverable? Are they indexed in services such as Web of Science or Scopus? Does the journal have suitable open access options? Have you and your colleagues heard of the journal? The answers to these questions will determine how visible your article will be to other researchers. Think Check Submit provides a simple check list to make sure you choose trusted journals for your research.

3. Sign up for an ORCiD 

Having and ORCID can help to make your research more visible. ORCID is a digital identifier that helps to distinguish you from other researchers. You can link all your research outputs to your ORCID and you can keep it throughout your career. It is particularly useful for researchers with common names, who change their name throughout their career or who change institutions. No matter what changes are made you will always have the same ORCID, so other people can easily see details of your research outputs. More details on how to sign up for a free ORCID can be found here.

4. Make your research open access

Open access publishing makes scholarly works available online, free for anyone to find and read. The potential readership of open access articles is far greater than that for articles where the full-text is restricted to subscribers. Making your research open access will make it more visible. There are 2 ways to make your research outputs open access; by self-archiving in an open access repository or by publishing in an open access journal. More information on open access can be found on our open access pages.

5. Share your research data where appropriate

There is growing evidence that sharing data can increase the visibility of research. Sharing your data could allow other researchers to validate your work, build upon it and could potentially help to open up future collaboration opportunities. Learn more about managing and sharing your data on our Research Data Management pages.

6. Promote your research online

Promoting your research online will help you reach your potential audience, connect with other researchers and help you to start developing a network of online colleagues. There are a number of different social media tools such as Twitter, Instagram, Blogs and LinkedIn. Whichever tool(s) you use it is important to identify who your audience is, engage with them by asking questions, speaking up about issues that interest you and use eye catching images, videos or visualisations. You don’t need to spend a long time keeping your social media accounts up to date but you do need to be willing to write and check your account(s) regularly.

7. Track when your research is being used

Keeping up to date with who is discussing, citing or sharing your research is important. You can use this type of information on CVs and when applying for funding/jobs etc. To check who is citing your work you can look at your articles on sites such as Web of Science, Scopus or Google Scholar. If you are an early career researcher it may be more appropriate to use Altmetrics. Altmetrics looks at who is talking and sharing your research on places such as social media, in news outlets and on course syllabi. For more information on Altmetrics have a look at our Altmetrics pages.

The Research Support team run regular workshops on increasing the visibility of your research focused on different faculties, book online here (N.B. currently for postgraduate research students only, let us know if you would be interested in similar sessions for research staff).

Further reading

Friday, 13 December 2019

A list of good resources for: University Ranking


A list of good resources for:

University Ranking


Thursday, 12 December 2019

Research Skills Session 10: Improve a Research Paper Quality

Ale Ebrahim, Nader (2019): Research Skills Session 10: Improve a Research Paper Quality. figshare. Presentation.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

12 Writing Assistant Software Apps Currently Using Artificial Intelligence (AI)


AI writing assistants use machine learning, a subset of AI technology, to help content creators through the writing process, including research, grammar, and tone. These tools leverage natural language processing (NLP) to analyze text and provide related content and recommendations. These tools can speed up content development. Augmented writing can help business owners, marketing consultants, and writers create more content from blog material to job descriptions.

But just how well do they work and how soon will they put human writers out of business? Let’s take a look.

These writing apps vary greatly in scale and scope from fully automated writing tools and platforms for multiple writers to simple bots that gather content written online and make suggestions for individuals with small projects. Some writing assistants work specifically to build types of forms or research material. Others are more comprehensive.
To be considered an AI Writing Assistant product, it must:
  • Use artificial intelligence to help with a portion of the writing process
  • Provide insight or references to enhance written work
  • Offer relevant resources to inform the writer
  • Correct grammatical errors within written projects

 Here are 12 writing apps that fit the description

grammarly logo
Grammarly helps make copy concise, easy to read, and error-free. Most people know about this type of platform if they do any regular writing. It finds and corrects both basic and complex writing mistakes depending on upgraded plans. It highlights problem areas and will make suggestions to change words or sentence structure. You can add new words to the dictionary and get reports on writing issues you make on a regular basis.
Plans cost from $0 to $11.66/mo for Premium and $15/mo for Business to share it with up to 100 people.
ProWritingAid Logo
ProWritingAid is an editing app for writers. You can add it to MS Office or as a chrome extension. It also works with Google Docs and Scrivener. This software makes suggestions to improve your writing style and saves time on editing by finding repetitive words, vague explanations, too many adverbs, passive voice issues, complicated sentence structure, spelling, and other grammar mistakes. It offers a thesaurus and shares a report on your bad habits and common mistakes. While similar to Grammarly, the pricing structure is a bit different. It is recommended for academics.
The cost is free for very basic service to edit 500 words at a time, then $50/yr to edit an unlimited number of words. For $60/yr they will add 50 plagiarism checks.
Skillroads logo
Skillroads helps you to create resumes or try out their resume writing service. If you know the job title you are looking for, it has a prepared survey to narrow down strengths and skills needed and arranges the text to flow properly. They can do cover letters, review your resume, edit your LinkedIn profile, and show the material in different templates.
They offer a package including a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, editing, and design for $239.
textio logo
Textio augments your writing to create effective job listings for your business. It scores your writing skills and suggests the phrases that could be more helpful, so you can recruit the most qualified applicants. It reports on the gender and diversity in your applicant pool. By working with Gmail and LinkedIn Recruiter you can easily write and post from wherever it’s convenient and share documents with other hiring teams within your company.
The Textio Hire Package allows you to write all your candidate communication in job posts and emails and ranges around $17-27k for a 12-month subscription. This is based on 12, 24, and 36 month subscriptions, business size, and number of job openings. You must contact for a quote.
AI Writer logo
AI Writer uses machine learning to gather the best information on any given topic. All you need to do is submit a headline or specify research URLs and keywords to look for new content. You’ll get article content and source material to incorporate citations. It operates in English text only while other products can work in other languages. I tested this one to create the article on written digital content while researching the impact these types of tools will have on the writing industry.
They are in the launch phase and there is currently no cost.
Articoolo logo
Articoolo creates written content to help writers create volumes of text faster and save money. It finds the best resource material, message, and keywords to construct your project. You choose the topic and length, it takes the sourced material and rewrites it using natural language processing (NLP) for semantics and readability. The unique material gives you a starting point for your article. It has a WordPress plug-in and will find images for you to use.
The cost is based on pay per use: 10 articles are $19,  50 articles are $75, 100 articles are $99. You can also subscribe for 30 articles per month at $29/mo, 100 articles per month at $49/mo, and 250 articles per month at $99/mo.
EssayBot logo
Essaybot is a tool to write quickly and more cost-effectively for customized content on social media. It tests for insights, leads, and ability to reach new customers. Content writers, in-house marketing teams, social media influencers, and entrepreneurs may find this useful to publish and promote content. With a title and prompt, it will find relevant sources, suggestions, and paraphrase content delivered in complete sentences. It avoids duplicate content and finds citations to match your topic.
They offer a free 7-day trial – no credit card needed. Their introductory price is $49/mo and $99/mo thereafter.
Frase logo
Frase has a word processor that performs an automated search for more productive writers and marketers. Its capable of analyzing topics and summarizing information. It helps you to research faster and more efficiently by writing and researching within the same browser so you don’t have to go back and forth between tabs to copy and paste.
Sign up for free, then upgrade to Basic at $25/mo, Team at $100/mo, or Enterprise custom pricing.
Qordoba logo
The Qordoba platform enables product teams to manage all of the words in their writing content and products, checking and storing them by style, grammar, tone, consistency, and user characteristics. It extracts text directly from source code and makes the words available for metrics across platforms, channels, and technologies. This creates new copy for products, marketing campaigns, and customer support. Integration with various development and marketing software apps allows it to fit into the developer stack.
This product is built for large enterprise developers who must submit a request for a demo and quote.
taprecruit logo
TapRecruit is a job description editor that writes job summaries to attract the most qualified prospects. It helps to increase the number of skilled applicants by generating titles that are searchable and easy for target candidates to understand. The right title ensures that qualified job seekers will find you.
It is $449/mo for startups and $539/mo for businesses in growth mode, then offers price negotiation for companies with 50 open jobs or more.
Textly logo
Textly Business has many features using AI-based content and style recommendations and analysis of rich statistics for individuals and teams. It increases the productivity of writing material in marketing, sales, and other forms of communication aimed at existing and future customers.
This version of Textly is $1/mo per user
Textly EDU is used mainly for students and schools. It helps those learning English to improve grammar, expand vocabulary, and advance their writing style. There are many templates in the database with examples from essays to press releases to teach students about writing based on context. It helps classroom groups work on homework assignments and tracks common mistakes for the instructors.
Textly Grammar Checker is a free tool to help correct mistakes in English writing. It analyzes writing to identify and fix common mistakes in word choice, grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and spelling. It improves overall writing style.
An English only product, Grammar Checker and EDU are free but offer upgrades from $8/mo to $19/mo.
WordAI logo
WordAi understands the text and can automatically rewrite articles scoring the same readability as the original content. This ensures that it passes Google and Copyscape tests for duplicate content on other sites. The tool can create in-depth paragraphs and spins based on the direction your article takes. It can write high-quality titles based on the topic. It uses relevant synonyms and supports English, Spanish, French, and Italian languages.
This product starts at $50/mo or $600/annually (current discounts can be as low as $350 annually).
Seo Sem Rush logo
SEO WritingAssistant can evaluate and enhance your writing by finding and fixing errors including suggestions to improve grammar and mechanics. It measures the quality of your writing through metrics and allows the writer to compare the SEO potential and uniqueness in the top 10 ranking pages in real time. You can add it to Google Docs and use it on all popular browsers. It is available as a WordPress plugin, has a plagiarism checker, and several document templates.
Plans start at $99/mo for Pro level, then $199/mo for Guru, $399/mo for Business, and custom pricing for Enterprise. You can have other users for free under the main subscription.
As you can see, there is a wide range of ability and cost. Those with deeper pockets will be able to benefit sooner from more complex technology. Others will be able to enhance processes and speed production. Marketers, writers, and editors are still are needed at this point to guide the process. How quickly will AI and machine learning advance in this area is the big question.
Do I trust it with creative storytelling that conveys human emotions on varying levels? Not yet. I believe there are too many nuances in our personalities, biology, culture, and communication techniques. Since writing and editing are what Scribe Syndicate does, I hope that AI will need a few years to collect and analyze the data globally to make this happen. When we reach that point, I want to be integrating and assessing the latest apps and providing guidance to my clients who still want some aspect of human interaction when it comes to their writing projects.
Louise F Gunderson, PhD, and CTO of Cait Systems explains the hurdles,
“In order to be useful, a natural language system needs to understand the structure of the sentence (subject, verb, object …) and know what the sentence is about; a technical problem that should be solved in the next five years.
A deeper problem involves learning the purpose of the communication. When humans converse, they have an idea they are attempting to communicate, while AIs do not. The human must provide it with the topic or context. This may take another 10 years.
So, what do I believe this means? In the near future, there will be more and more sophisticated AI tools that will create richer and more varied content, with the ability to tailor it to a specific audience. However, until an AI app can understand what humans are interested in, it will be a tool, like a thesaurus, a typewriter, or a word processor.”
Take a look at my test project done during the research for an article on the topic of Digital Content Creation: Raw material from AI Writer, the outline, sourcing, and editing process, and the finished article on Written Digital Content and AI.

Research Skills Session 9: Writing a Paper


Cite as: Ale Ebrahim, Nader (2019): Research Skills Session 9: Writing a Paper. figshare. Presentation.