The Vitalities Lab’s first newsletter is available here: VLab Newsletter 1.
It is important that academic researchers draw attention to their research. We don’t engage in scholarship just for our own benefit. We want others to be aware of and use our research, including those outside the academy. Quite apart from the high value given to factors such as impact, stakeholder engagement and numbers of citations to your work, promoting goodwill and strong networks with your colleagues is important for your flourishing, including feeling part of a community and that you are making a difference.
Here are some ideas for increasing the visibility of your research to as great a range of publics as possible.
- Actively use social media: blog, tweet, sign up to Facebook groups of interest or make one of your own to bring like-minded researchers together. Use these networks to publicise your activities – including new publications, calls for papers, and event announcements. Be a good academic citizen and also publicise the outputs and activities of your colleagues – they will likely return the favour.
- Sign up to platforms such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu and maintain your profile, updating new publications on it. These platforms provide an easy way for people to request copies of your publications and for you to share them.
- Publish preprints and postprints in open access outlets such as your university e-repository, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, Social Science Research Network etc. This will make your work readily accessible for those who can’t access academic journals.
- Ensure that you have a Google Scholar profile that lists all your publications and citations. I can’t emphasise enough how important this is to make your publications and citations visible in one place. Google Scholar automatically links to all your open access publications as well, helping people to readily find your work. Important! – ensure that you check your profile regularly to weed out any inaccuracies that the Google Scholar algorithms may have created, such as not including a publication of yours or wrongly attributing someone else’s publications (and citations) to you. An inaccurate Google Scholar profile is not a good look, particularly if it appears that you are taking credit for someone else’s work.
- Sign up to Google Scholar alerts for your name – this will mean that every time you are cited, GS will email you a notification. This a fantastic way not only of seeing who is citing you but also how they are using and building on your work.
- Create some kind of web presence for your research projects, so that you can share updates, calls for participants, invite feedback on preliminary findings, announce events and list outputs (hopefully with as many as possible available in open access form). Consider including a section that provides resources such as links to other relevant websites and research groups, methods toolkits, curriculum ideas and reading lists.
- Take every opportunity to do interviews for mass media outlets and write pieces about your research for forums such as The Conversation.
- Make podcasts and videos to talk about your own research or interview other academics working in your area about their research.
- Don’t be afraid to self-cite in your publications (particularly if you are female – research shows that women academics are far less likely to cite their own work than are men).
- Use a platform like Slideshare to publish your presentation slides.
Edited to add: Also be aware that at times, increased visibility can bring with it unwanted negative attention, particularly if you research contentious or controversial topics that bring out the trolls, and if you are identify with a marginalised or vulnerable social group. If this is you, be careful in your choices about how to communicate your research publicly. (Thanks to Emma Renold for drawing attention to these issues when commenting on this post.)