The scholarly information life cycle has traditionally focused on the published article or book as the key output of the process. However, the growth of social media and networked technologies has altered the cycle to include methods of dialogue and output such as blogs, podcasts, open education resources and networking sites that expands the reach of a scholars ideas in new and interactive ways.
This guide focuses on skills and tools for discussing, interacting, presenting, writing, commenting, and finally publishing your research in this "new" scholarly communication environment. This guide will discuss:
- Developing a scholarly/publication profile using both traditional and social tools
- Building knowledge of formal and informal modes of publication
- Identifying ways to broadly participate in your field (e.g. webinars, blogs, open education resources)
Create a Profile
Building your academic profile online can help demonstrate your authority, expertise and research interests. The internet has become the starting point for all searches, so you want to make sure that people are finding authorized biographical and contact information about you. This is especially important when you're starting your academic career. Chances are that your department has a profile page about you, but these may be updated infrequently and buried on university websites. There are a number of social networking sites that you can use to take direct control of your scholarly profile.
LinkedIn is a social networking site with a focus on job recruiting. However, it's not all business. Many scholars use LinkedIn to show off their academic service. If you're investigating a non-traditional career or even if you just want to ensure discovery of your CV by university administrators and support staff, LinkedIn can be an important complement to your other social networking activities. Even if you don't use it regularly, make sure you update big career events such as teaching posts, fellowships and grants.
- UBC Company Page
- Nice profile by UBC grad Olivier Riche showing Research Interests, Resume, links to cIRcle
Academia.edu is a Facebook-like social networking platform for scholars. It allows people to search by name, research interests and universities. The site is highly visited and prominent in Google searches. Academia.edu allows you to update your status, upload your academic papers (including unpublished drafts), list your research interests and follow other scholars with similar areas of research. This site also provides great assessment tools so you can get notified when someone views your profile or papers.
- List of UBC profiles by listed department
- Sample Profile of UBC Post-Doc in Asian Studies
- Sample of Research Interest Result: Bertrand Russell
- Example of use of Academia.edu with Blog to crowdsource peer review
Mendeley is a social reference management site. You may already be using it to store your citations and help write your research papers, but it also has some great social features. You can list or upload your research publications, provide a brief academic CV and biographical information, and participate in a group. Mendeley groups allow you to share and discover new research in your field.
The microblogging platform Twitter needs no introduction, but have you considered how you can use it to network in your academic community? You can use hashtags to discover important news in your discipline or other active scholars. It can also help them to discover you so that you're engaging with your larger academic community instead of just people who know you or stumble across your profile. It is increasingly common for conferences to have an associated hashtag so make sure to check if there is one when you attend your next meeting. Live tweeting conferences is a great academic service for those people who can't attend and it's another way to build your profile as an authority in your field.
- Sample hashtag for the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting
- Share your Twitter top tips for a new ‘how-to’ guide for academics on the merits of academic tweeting
- A gentle introduction to Twitter for the apprehensive academic
- Top Twitter Tips for Academics
- List of Academic Twitter Accounts
- Bibliography of Research on Twitter & Microblogging
Creating a personal landing page using About.me allows you to gather together all your various online networks into one place without creating a personal website. About.me lets you upload a picture, write a brief biography, and list websites where you have an active presence. It can be a great way to let people explore your digital presence online and to help direct them from sites where you may have a token presence to other sites where you are far more active.
Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar. Setting up your Gravatar is as easy as uploading a single photo. Once you've done this, many websites and blogs (e.g. WordPress) will use your Gravatar whenever you leave a comment. This is a one-step action that can definitely help you become more visually recognized across the blogosphere. Just make sure you choose a professional photo and not a cartoon drawing.
Be a Content Developer
Developing online scholarly content can often be a daunting task. With the proliferation of social technologies and the pressure to engage in traditional scholarly output, it becomes a question of how to keep up in an ever changing environment that may not have the impact needed to be considered academically rigorous. While keeping up with technologies is a complicated process, developing scholarly content for the internet can be as simple as posting drafts of articles, commenting on recent scholarship, or uploading previous conference presentations.
Blogs are a space where academics and scholars engaged in new ideas, begin discussions on research findings, and gain feedback on pre-published materials. Blogging gives academics the opportunity to expand the reach of their scholarship by presenting their work to a larger community. This builds opportunities for collaboration and potentially new publishing outputs. Additionally, blogging of research can provide academics with open discussion about their research, a form of interactive peer review that moves beyond the closed models currently supported in traditional publishing models
UBC offers a weblogging platform run on the open-source software Wordpress. Managed through the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTLT), UBC blogs can be created for courses, portfolios, research and publishing. To learn more about developing your own UBC blog, read the documentation developed by CTLT or attend a workshop.
Additional blogging platforms can be found at Best Blogging Platforms.
Examples of Blogs Used for Subject Engagement
Examples of Blogs Used for Peer Review
- Archaeologist posting draft of dissertation chapter on blog
- Giving It Away: Sharing the Future of Scholarly Communication
Videos and Podcasts
A great deal of scholarly output is often difficult to capture. Lectures and conference presentations, while important modes of scholarly output, are not captured as effectively with written notes and presentation documents. Videos and podcasts allows you to capture:
- presentations that may be dependent on audiovisual materials for expressing ideas
- discussion periods that can add clarity to your work
- nonverbal skills associated to effective presentation
Additionally, videos and podcasts can add to your instruction portfolio. You can develop instruction material in multiple formats and use the material as support for your own instruction and/or provide open access to a broader community. Open Education Resources (OER) are a good example of this kind of work.
Examples of Academic Videos
- Knowledge Centre Tête-à-Tête Series
- Academic Earth
- UBC Continuing Studies Audio and Video Podcasts
- UBC YouTube Channel
Examples of Academic Podcasting
Have you given a presentation at a conference or colloquium that you're exceptionally proud of? Chances are that you also spent a good amount of time making professional slides. Archiving your slides online can give people early glimpses into your research. It can also help maintain your active research presence after the presentation and build interest in your future publications. Get the most out of your slides!
Have you completed original research for a graduate seminar or course? Consider archiving your paper in cIRcle, UBC's institutional repository. You're probably familiar with cIRcle because archiving your thesis or dissertation there is mandatory, but they also accept graduate papers with approval from your course instructor or supervisor. Check out their getting started guide for students.
If you've published an article in your field, you may also want to explore archiving in a subject repository. This varies from discipline to discipline and also depends on the post-publication rights in your author agreement. Ask your subject liaison librarian for help identifying repositories in your area of research.
Open Education Resources
Open educational resources (OERs) are freely accessible and openly licensed resources that are useful for teaching, learning, and research. They can include, but are not limited to, syllabi, reading lists, handouts and course readings, PowerPoint slides, and even videos. You can leverage all the time you spend teaching by publishing your teaching materials online for others to use in their own instruction. If you've spent a lot of time developing a new course, sharing the resources openly can help you get more credit for your work. For more information on OER, visit CTLT's resource page.
We are presented with a sea of information every day and sometimes the greatest service is to help sort it all in a meaningful way. Content curation takes many forms but usually starts when an interested individual takes it upon themselves to help others find related materials. Some ideas for content curation include:
Become a Player
Even collaborative research projects can be isolating, so it's important to take the time to meet and communicate with others in your field. Attending conferences and webinars can be a good way of interacting with scholars outside of your colleagues and classmates.
Many subjects still depend on subject listservs to circulate important news, ask informal research questions, and even notify users about upcoming webinars, conferences, and job postings. Subject-based listservs can be an extremely invaluable way to engage with researchers in your specific area of research. Ask your graduate advisor or subject liaison librarian if there is an important listserv for your area of research.
- e.g. H-net has many subject listservs for Humanities scholars
If you want to stay current with affairs in your field of study, you may want to join a professional association. Academic associations come together to organize ethics and standards in a field of research and lobby governmental bodies on behalf of their members. Membership often has privileges including job notice services, e-mail listservs, training, conferences, and sometimes even funding and scholarships. It is common practice to list membership in professional associations on your academic CV. Many offer deeply discounted membership rates for graduate students. If you want to find professional associations in your area of study, ask your academic advisor or consult one of the library research guides.
The internet has made it easy to participate in scholarly activities in our discipline that formerly required a lot of money and travel. Professional associations and groups now often stream training sessions online to reach more users. Webinars can be free, restricted to members of association, or even cost money. The best way to discover webinars in your area is to join a professional association.
Attending and presenting at conferences is important for networking with the larger academic community. For many young scholars, speaking at a conference can be an informal way to get some feedback about your research prior to publication. Make sure to bring a pen to write down ideas that come up after your presentation.
Conferences have proliferated in the last two decades, so it is important to think about attending conferences that will maximize your own investment. Some factors to consider include:
- Will attendance be widespread at the provincial, national or disciplinary level?
- For small conferences, is the subject directly related to my research providing networking with high-profile experts?
- Will the conference proceedings be published? This can be an excellent first publication for a new academic
It is important to know the differences that exist between conference proceedings and journal articles. The most important considerations should be that conferences proceedings are rarely peer-reviewed and that journals rarely want to publish material that's been published elsewhere.
Services for Conference Discovery
While nontraditional forms of publication is becoming more prominent in academia, publication which does not follow the traditional scholarly information life cycle of authorship to published article or book is viewed with some suspicion. Success in most academic environments continue to prioritize traditional publication formats (e.g articles, books) over new and innovative ways of engaging in debate (e.g. blogs). While nontraditional publishing need not take on the rules of traditional academic scholarship, thinking about your online engagement as a part of the process of publishing can be useful when making decisions on scholarly output.
To learn about finding traditional publication opportunities, go to Getting Published in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Are you interested in entering academic publishing but would like to begin with a low stress assignment? Are you interested in keeping in touch with the latest publications in your area of expertise? Book reviews can be a good first step in gaining publishing experience and building your profile.
Finding these opportunities can sometimes be complicated. Discipline specific book review websites do exist but to find a more comprehensive list of opportunities, finding and selecting journals within your field for potential book review writing is an excellent start in the process. Checking the guidelines of a journal to see their policy on book review submissions, the number of reviews submitted and accepted per year, length of reviews, and whether or not unsolicited offers to review are accepted, will provide you with the needed information to begin.
Examples of Discipline Specific Book Review Sites
- Humanities and Social Sciences Online (H-net)
- Bryn Mawr Classical Review
- Leonardo Digital Book Reviews
Finding Subject Specific Journal Publishing Opportunities
To find journals in your subject are, use Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. For further information on publishing book reviews and using Ulrich's Periodicals Directory, go the Getting Published in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Traditional opportunities for peer review will come from your own publishing, collaborating with faculty, and through direct contact with editors and editorial boards. Some peer review opportunities can come through engaging in the development and support of graduate student journals (e.g. Graduate Student Journal of Psychology or Journal of Integrated Studies). Additionally, journal editorial boards may develop a student editor positions (e.g. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology).
New forms of peer review that involve publication of research prior to completing the final manuscript is becoming a more viable option. This opens the door to new forms of peer review opportunities for emerging scholars and the public. Online commenting has become a form of peer review for scholars, however online spaces are emerging for scholars to share their pre-published work with peers within the field.
Wordpress Plugins for Open Peer Review
A WordPress plugin for simple book publishing. This tool makes it easy for authors and editorial teams to generate clean, well-formatted books in multiple outputs right within the blogging platform. It generates ePub, print-ready PDF, InDesign-ready XML, and HTML.
A WordPress plugin that allows you to use the blogging platform to create, edit and publish a book. Grab posts from your WordPress blog, import feeds from external sites, or create new content directly within Anthologize. Then outline, order, and edit your work, crafting it into a single volume for export in several formats, including—in this release—PDF, ePUB, TEI.
Commentpress is an open source theme and plugin for the WordPress that allows readers to comment paragraph by paragraph in the margins of a text. It can be applied to a fixed document (paper/essay/book etc.) or to a running blog. Commentpress is used for History Working Papers.
Examples of Pre and Post Open Peer Review
HWPP is an online space for scholars to share works-in-progress with their peers. After uploading a conference paper, essay, or article manuscript to the HWPP website, authors can invite others to read their work and make comments in the margins. As more people respond, writers get more feedback. But, unlike traditional comments done on paper, HWPP allows commenters and authors to interact with each other. They can read each other’s marginalia and engage in dialogue about it. In fact, entire threaded discussions can take place in the margins.
Powered by Mendeley API, Paper Critic offers scholars an opportunity to obtain and track feedback on post-published scientific sources. It also offers the opportunity to continue the dialogue on post-published sources through through commenting and rating.
This is a review platform for a growing number of European history journals with a strong open access mandate. Papers are posted by participating journals either as pre- or post-print copies. User comments enable a continuous review process to occur.
To find more open peer review opportunities, contact your subject liaison librarian.
Assessing the impact of our research is becoming an important of research in the 21st century. This is a large topic that has its own workshop. When thinking about impact factors, you should try to consider the perspective from your own field of study. Some possible questions include:
- How do you measure success of an article or book in your discipline?
- How do you measure the success of a scholar in your discipline?
- Is there discussion of citation analysis/impact factor particular to your discipline? (e.g. h-index)
- Are impact factors used in promotion and tenure decisions regarding professors in your department? In evaluating job applicants?
Tools for Scholarly Metrics
- One of the most standard commercial tools for finding Journal Impact Factors, Citation Counts and other author metrics
- Favours sciences over social sciences and humanities
- Journal-based (i.e. does not track citations to books, book chapters, conference proceedings websites, etc.)
- Video example on conducting Author Citation Reports
- Interactive Tutorial for using ISI Journal Citation Reports
- Video Tutorial of Google Scholar Citations
- New tool put out by Google in late 2011 that allows authors to curate their own list of publications
- Calculates citation counts, h-index, and i10-index
- Tracks conference proceedings, chapters in edited volumes, and books, but not consistently
- Better for humanities and many social sciences than ISI Web of Science or Scopus
Altmetrics is a new field that attempts to measure the digital impact of our work as it is linked, blogged, and mentioned across the internet. It's still in the early days but this is an area that's worthwhile keeping your eye on!
- A new experimental tool co-authored by UBC postdoctorate researcher Heather Piwowar that combines internet metrics with traditional scholarly metrics.