Improve your Research Profile (8): Tips for time poor academics

The eigth in an 8-part series on improving your research profile, reputation and impact. Evidences the positive effect of social media use and provides tips for social media newbies.

This presentation is part of an 8-part series that I created in my role as Staff Development Lead at Middlesex University (see: Supportive, inclusive & collaborative research cultures). The series is comprised of three key parts:

I have never cited a paper because I saw a tweet about it...

Many academics are sceptical about using social media as they don't think it will make a difference. But just because you don't use social media to stay current with your field of research doesn't mean other academics don't. In general, research on this topic finds that the more you engage with social media the more your work is read. Even if you reach only a dozen more people that really need to know about the research, it is worth it. And as I said before, this is not all about getting cited, it's about reaching the right audience.

If you are still not convinced, the presentation provides you with two clear examples of my own work that are as close as we can get to controlled experiments. The second example (reproduced above) compares the number of reads for six articles published online in the same journal around the same time. My own article, that is available in Open Access and was shared widely on social media has an access count of more than 600, three times as much as the articles that had either OA or social media sharing and nearly ten times as much as those that had neither.

No time? What to do?

Now what if you feel you really can’t spare any of this? Here I suggest a 2-year plan in which you only spend 1-2 hours a month. Obviously, this is just a suggestion, it is not a straight-jacket. Modify it to serve your own preferences and situation.

After following the steps suggested above for two years you will be very comfortable with interacting on three key platforms. If that’s sufficient for you, feel free to stop there. But if you are starting to like using social media to build your research reputation, the presentation takes you through a few other options. Watch the presentation to find out more.

Take a break...

Remember none of this is a once and for ever choice. Feel free to take a break from social media for a few weeks or a few months if your work is really busy or you just want to hide in your own little world for a while. We all have periods like that. Nothing is compulsory.

Your social media engagement should be meaningful to you, don’t engage in mindless scrolling or frantic exchanges as it won’t do your mental health any good. Even more so than when using social media privately, when using it professionally it should really be purposeful. Make it work for you, don’t let yourself be driven by the platforms.

Other posts in this series