Monthly Archives: June 2013

Ready for #STEM10DoT?

Hello to everyone who’s signed up to follow the STEMDigital blog, ready to participate in 10 Days of Twitter- you’ll be getting an email alert when a post is published here, so just testing!

Ten Days of Twitter starts on Monday, and I’m really looking forward to meeting you online,  exploring Twitter and joining in the conversations. I’ve found it an invaluable way to share information and resources with others, keep up to date with news and announcements, and even discuss matters at quite some length, given the 140 character limit! I hope you find it a positive experience too. We’ll be going at a manageable pace – one small aspect of Twitter each day, starting with setting up your account effectively on Day One  –  and I anticipate none of the Days will need any more than about quarter of an hour’s time from you. We’re all busy people, and Twitter should suit the fast pace of our work, not hinder it! If you get get a day or so behind, don’t worry though, it’s easy to catch up when you have time, the blog posts will all still be there, and there are always people on Twitter!

If you have any questions, do leave them in the comments.

See you online on Monday for the First Day of Twitter!

Advertisements

Event and Blogging Opportunity

I mentioned an event at the blogging workshop that I thought might be of interest to you – CAMAWiSE is running an event on Wednesday (26th June) with Prof. Dame Athene Margaret Donald from the Department of Experimental Physics on social media, “Different ways to reach out”, looking at the use of social media in impact and public engagement activities. Athene Donald’s blog has been an extremely successful way for her to connect with a wider audience, and is full of really useful insights into the life of a science researcher, particularly addressing issues which relate to women’s careers. She blogs as part of the Occam’s Typewriter blog network, which you may also wish to explore, to find interesting blogs or even to think about writing with as a guest contributor or even regular blogger!

To attend this event on social media,you’ll need to register. 

Also, if you’d like to get some blogging experience yourself, they’d like someone to write a post about the event for their blog, so if setting up your own blog in the first instance is a bit daunting, this is a great opportunity to get some experience writing a guest post!

Presenting your work: Blogging

The last of our tools we’ll be exploring in the first module of STEMDigital is one which is primarily a tool for publishing or ‘broadcasting’ information, but like many of the other tools we’ve looked at, also has the (underused!) potential to be more interactive. Blogs can be used for a wide variety of purposes in academia, for presenting your research and other facets of your work. There is little agreement yet on blogging’s place in the academic world, but blogs are certainly useful to share aspects of your work which otherwise wouldn’t be seen and raise your profile and are particularly useful for public engagement.

There are a number of big decisions to be thought through before starting a blog, such as your aims and intended audience, and also therefore the genre of blog which will suit your purposes best. Will you blog individually, write guest posts or join a group blog? Might an official blog be a useful way to enhance a conference, seminar or research group? To make sure you reach your intended audience, you’ll need a publicity strategy also. I’ve added the slides from the workshop I ran today – a Beginner’s Guide to Blogging, for early career researchers. Hope the materials are useful and help you to think through some of the issues and decisions!

So now at the end of this module, we’ll be returning to the first thing that we covered, which was setting up a WordPress account so you could comment on this blog. WordPress is a blogging platform, however, so this time, you can set up your own blog! You can have as many blogs as you like, associated with your WordPress account and username.

To set up your first blog with WordPress, log in, and click on the ‘My Blog’ tab at the top, where you’ll be invited to create a blog. You now need to choose an available URL, and also a title for your blog (which may be similar to or the same as the URL). You can also select the visibility of your blog – public or private? Any of these can be changed later, though. Click on ‘Create Blog’!

You can now explore the different themes available to customise your blog, but the main thing to do is to create some content. WordPress automatically creates your first post (on the ‘Home’ tab) and page (which they’ve called ‘About’, but you can change this), with some sample text which you should delete and replace.  For instructions on how to post to your blog, see the information at http://learn.wordpress.com/get-published/ and the video here: http://wordpress.tv/2009/01/15/writing-and-publishing-a-post/

As for what to blog about – that’s up to you! To get an idea of what to write about or what kind of style to use, you could try reading others’ blogs. If you don’t yet habitually read blogs, find a few in an area you’re interested and have a look at them, for ideas. Technorati is a search engine specifically for blogs, which will help you find blogs of interest. You can also search using the ‘blogs’ tab in Google.

In addition to the blogposts you publish on your ‘Home’ tab, you can also create static content on other tabs, more like a traditional web page. You are given a tab called ‘About’, which you can use for information about who you are and what your blog is for, but you can add more tabs (this blog has several: FAQs, How To Join, etc).

There is also an option to use your WordPress not as a blog but as as a more traditional static website. You might use this to showcase your CV profile, or advertise your consultancy services, much as you might on LinkedIn, but in a way which you can customise far more. To do this, you need to make one of your Pages, rather than the blog feed on your ‘Home’ tab, prominent. This video explains how to do this:

There are other blog platforms you can choose, such as Blogger (owned by Google), or Tumblr, for shorter posts and ones which aren’t primarily text-focussed (such as images, sound, video or short quotations). If you want to set up a website rather than a blog, you could explore requesting a university webpage or site, or, for something longer term, try a free service such as Weebly or Google Sites. With these sites, you can also pay a fee to customise the URL and remove the name of the platform,

If you don’t think you want to set up your own blog at this time, you could explore contributing a guest post to someone else’s blog. STEMDigital would welcome posts from participant guest bloggers, if you want to try it out! I’d love to hear your experiences and reflections on the programme, or with tools or strategies you’ve tried.  

Many academic bloggers blog about blogging, so there’s plenty of advice out there! Some useful links:

If you’re interested in blogging or setting up a professional website, what are you thinking of blogging about, and who for? Let us know about your blog in the comments – it would be great to set up a community of science bloggers at Cambridge! 

Next up: Module Two of STEMDigital: Networking! Beginning with Ten Days of Twitter!

Social Networking Platforms

Like any other profession, the academic community relies on making and sustaining contacts – to bring expertise together in collaborations, spread news about the latest research and job opportunities, and share advice, resources and information. This used to be achieved through colleagues and conferences, when knowing your PhD supervisor or professor would tell others all they needed to know about you, but academia is no longer such a small world. We’re also increasingly reaching out to promote the impact of our research to other sectors where we have no established contacts: industry, policy makers, journalists and the public sector.

The two platforms we will be exploring this time are LinkedIn and Academia.edu.  Some of you may not have set up a profile on these platforms yet, and others may have set up a profile a while ago but not been sure what to do with it since. If you have already explored one, try using the other as a comparison, or look at how you might review your use and take advantage of advanced functionality.

LinkedIn

This post draws on the workshop session which was kindly offered by Meg Westbury,  User Experience Librarian at the Judge Business School. I’ve embedded the slides below, and will be relying extensively on her expertise in this post!

LinkedIn is a site aimed at any professional in any line of work, which allows you to build an online profile of your experience and skills. It also allows you to actively network and interact with other users much as you might with Facebook, but with a more professional focus. Although it might seem like a very business-oriented site, Higher Education users form a major part of its membership. LinkedIn is also favoured by Google’s algorithm, so by creating and maintaining a comprehensive and up-to-date profile, you will automatically make yourself far more visible online. Nor is it just for job-seekers. Maintaining a current profile will make you findable and approachable to potential collaborators, consultancy offers, journalists as well as a range of people who can help you with advice and opportunities at this stage of your career.

Unlike your university webpage (if you have one), your profile here is not constrained by the disciplinary categories of your institution, or even by your identity as an academic. How you describe yourself and where you place yourself in terms of your research topic and career aspirations is more fluid. On LinkedIn, you may be presenting yourself to future employers outside academia, and you may not wish to appear too narrow in your interests.

To create a profile on LinkedIn, you’ll initially need your first and last names, an email address and password. You can also sign up with Facebook if you’re happy to mix professional with what may be a personal network. You’ll then be prompted to fill in further details about your current employment status. Even if you already set up a LinkedIn profile a while ago, several new features and sections have been added, so there is more to add! LinkedIn is very good at talking you through what to add, so if you have a copy of your CV to hand, it’s pretty quick to set up a full profile.

Meg’s slides offer great tips for enhancing your profile, but I’ll summarise a few of them here.

  • Use the first elements in your profile well to encourage people to connect with you as they may not read all your profile. Key elements are a profile picture of your face, together with a clear statement in the ‘headline’ and ‘summary’ sections, describing your overall professional profile, expertise and what you can offer. These aren’t really your current job or other position, they are for giving a sense of who you are professionally.  The keywords you choose here are also important as they will help people search for you, so think carefully about your metadata.
  • There is a section to add your publications. Other sections may not be quite tailored towards academic researchers, but can still be adapted. You can upload media such as documents or powerpoints of papers and talks and other research ‘offcuts’, create weblinks to webpages or online resources you’ve worked on, add funding or scholarships in the ‘awards’ section, add any extracurricular, teaching or public engagement activities in the ‘interests’ section. Training you’ve undertaken at Cambridge or elsewhere could also be added in the ‘courses’ section to demonstrate your continuing professional development. ‘Projects’ might include conferences you’ve worked on, a blog or journal you’ve edited.
  • You can change the order of these sections to prioritise what you want to. You can also customise your unique LinkedIn URL, which you might include on your webpage, email signature or business card, so that it’s more personalised.
  • Find some contacts. Spend a few minutes thinking about the kind of people it would be useful to connect with and why. You can import contacts from your email account or Facebook. Take it a step further and see what issues or goals you might want to contact them about, and send a message or ask a question! It’s polite to personalise the message that LinkedIn sends out when you invite someone to connect, and also to send a message to greet those whose invitations you accept.
  • Don’t just use LinkedIn as an online CV or a directory of your contacts. Make sure you use it actively. Post updates about your professional activities such as conferences or seminars you’re going to, teaching you’re doing, something you’ve read recently that was interesting. Contribute to two-way discussion too. LinkedIn allows you to join (or create) interest groups, which bring you together with others with that shared interest to discuss and ask questions. There are many of these groups which are aimed at academics, including PhD students and Postdocs. Here are a few starting points, but have a search in ‘groups’ for others which might interest you. There are also groups for university alumni, which might be useful for career networking.
  • Academia.edu is a similar platform but as the name suggests, is designed specifically for academics and the kinds of information and interactions they need to exchange, for example, listing publications and research interests. Both sites tend to rank very highly in Google searches, and will make you more visible online.
  • Social network platforms rely on high levels of traffic and updates to encourage visits and work well, but professional platforms possibly won’t generate as much traffic as personal ones like Facebook. If LinkedIn isn’t going to be the main place you ‘are’ online, add links to the platforms you use more, such as Twitter, and let people know how best to contact you in the ‘contact details’ section.
  • The Careers Service is a very valuable resource when creating or reviewing a profile on LinkedIn. You might want to look at some of their resources or talk to one of their advisors about using LinkedIn, even if you’re not actively job-hunting at the moment.

Academia.edu

If you still feel that LinkedIn is too business-oriented for you, you may want to set up a profile on Academia.edu. This platform was developed as an academic version of LinkedIn, to allow researchers to present themselves in a way which is tailored to their needs when networking with other academics. Remember that its reach won’t help you connect with non-academics for any impact, policy, media and press, consultancy or public engagement opportunities you might benefit from.

To set up a account on Academia.edu, you will again need to enter your name, email and a password. You’ll then be prompted to add more details to fill in your profile, including a profile picture (which again is best kept to a professional headshot).

  • Academia.edu recognises that some early career researchers may be between contracts, or have roles at more than one institution, or be independent scholars and it also allows you to set up an account with a non-academic email. However, it is quite limited in the job role it allows you to select, unless you are a PhD student, Postdoc or Faculty member. Early career researchers may not necessarily fall neatly into these boxes (for example, if you are a College Teaching Officer), and may take on academic-related or even non-academic work for a while, and if this is the case in future, you will have to enter this in the ‘other’ box.
  • You can then add research interests, which are not only  keywords to assist others in searching, but also act to link you to others who use the same term. When you click on any of these research interests, you can see who else shares that research interest.
  • As with LinkedIn, you can add a few sentences in the ‘About’ sentence to give an overall sense of who you are professionally. This can be very useful if your research is interdisciplinary, and could sit across more disciplines than the department you are currently located in.
  • The main purpose of Academia.edu is “to share and follow research”, and the focus is largely on uploading papers you’ve written. This is quite a narrow interpretation of the academic role, and if you aren’t in a position to have published much, this can mean that your profile looks a little thin. However, you can also create sections to share talks, conference presentations and teaching materials, as well as drafts and other ‘grey literature’ which is produced as a by-product of academic research. You can also upload your CV if you want people to get a sense of your experience, particularly non-publication related roles, but there is no way to showcase this as on LinkedIn.
  • You can follow scholars whose work you are interested in, so you will be alerted when they upload new papers. As the publication process is rather slow, means that that the volume of traffic on Academia.edu may be rather low! You can find people to follow via people you’re already in contact with through email, Facebook or Twitter, or by clicking on research interest keywords.
  • You can interact with others on Academia.edu, although this feature isn’t as prominent as other platforms. You can post updates and ask questions, and add links to your other platforms you use where there may be more traffic.

Which of these platforms do you find best fits the way you want to present yourself? Or do you find that the templates they offer are too restrictive? Do you think you will use the more interactive networking features, and will they help you to reach out to new contacts? Or will you just stick to the profile-building aspects?

You might find this article of interest: John Naughton’s column critiquing LinkedIn

For more information on using LinkedIn as an academic, see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/web/socialmedia/linkedin/

Next up: we’ll be looking at setting up a blog using your wordpress account, and the different ways you can use a blog or website to shape your online presence.

Bibliometrics and collating your identity

As we saw in the workshop, collating your academic identity becomes a priority when you start publishing and disseminating your research at conferences. There’s the danger of your work becoming confused with someone else who shares the same name as you, even in the same institution or discipline. There’s also the problem that your work may appear under variations of your name: full name, initials, and different combinations of them. You may also have changed your name with marital status, or use a different version of your name in different languages. This may mean that it’s hard for potential readers, employers or collaborators to gain an overview of your work.

There are three tools which can help you draw together your academic profile. They also have the added benefits of helping you to see where you fit in the academic landscape, through tracking and mapping citations of your work, and doing the same for others in your field.

Google Scholar Profile and Citations

Google Scholar allows you the option to create a profile of yourself and your publications, and track publications which have cited you. The profile will also appear when others search for your name or work in Google Scholar. You can also use it to see publications by others, if they have signed up, and to follow their work and citations of their work.

  • Go to Google Scholar. Click on My Citations in the top righthand corner.
  • If you have a Google account already, sign in. If not, click on the ‘sign up’ button in the top righthand corner (this gives you access to a number of Google services such as email and cloud storage which you may also find useful).
  • Your profile contains your name, institutional affiliation, research interests, and email address. You can choose to make your profile public, or keep it private, and add your university homepage if you wish. (You can only make your Google Scholar profile public if you use an .ac.uk email address to verify your academic status). Test your choice of research interest keywords by clicking on them and seeing if anyone else describes themselves in the same way.
  • If you already have any, add your published articles using Google scholar (‘add’ in the drop-down menu) and have a look at the citation data. Alternatively, you could search for others in your field and, if they have a profile, look at their publications and citation data. You can choose to have your future publications added automatically, rather than adding them manually yourself, but there may be problems with this, and you’ll have to review and delete periodically.
  • If you need them, there are more information and instructions on the About Google Scholar Citations and the Help page.

ResearcherID

ResearcherID is a service introduced by Thomson Reuters, who own Web of Science, to assign each researcher with a unique identifier (a Digital Object Identifier or DOI for authors instead of texts). Similar to Google Scholar profile, you set up a profile of your information, but can then link this unique profile to your own publications, including those not indexed in Web of Science. (Scopus, the citations database owned by Elsevier, have a similar scheme called Author Identifier, although this relies on an algorithm which analyses the publication metadata and offers authors a link to email feedback when they discover an error in their data.)

  • Enter your name and email for a registration invite. Once this arrives, click on the link in the email to register.
  • Fill in the information requested. Once you have done this and created your profile, you will notice that you have been issued your unique identifier. You can then add more information if you wish (there are tabs across the top of the screen to move between sections of your profile). Remember to decide if you want the information to be public or private.
  • Now view your profile, and add your publications for you ‘My Publications’ list, using Web of Science to search. For future publications, you can add them direct from the Web of Science database when searching. You can also see your citation metrics.
  • There is more information on the ResearcherID homepage and ResearcherID FAQ webpage if you need it.

Due to the unique identifier, your information and publications will remain associated with you, whether you change institution or your name. This is important to avoid confusion with other similarly named authors, as you’ll see from Google Scholar Citations but is particularly relevant for Early Career Researchers, whose link with a particular institution is temporary.

ORCID

A slightly newer service is ORCID, or Online Researcher and Contributor ID. Unlike the Thomson Reuters- owned ResearcherID, ORCID is non-proprietary and not-for-profit. ORCID does however allow you to interlink with your ResearcherID, Scopus and even LinkedIn profiles.

  • Similarly to ResearcherID, you’ll need to register with your name, email and password. You’ll be sent an email with a link which you’ll need to click on to confirm.
  • Again, you’ll be asked to construct a profile, which will include such things as a biography, keywords, and a personal website. Future additions will include affiliations, as in ResearcherID, and details of any grants or patents. You can again decide whether you want this information public or not.
  • ORCID will also allow you to search for and identify any publications by you, linking them with your unique identifier.
  • You can link your ORCID profile with your ResearcherID and Scopus identities also.

For both ResearcherID and ORCID, you can choose to log in with either your unique identifier, or your email address. In both cases, you need not sign up with an academic .ac.uk email if you think an alternative address like gmail would be more stable at this point in your career.

Collating your identity on the open web

There isn’t the same need to collate your output on the open web, but you can distinguish different aspects of your online profile for different audiences by paying attention to privacy settings, using different usernames and avatars for different purposes, and setting up multiple accounts for material aimed at different audiences on those platforms which allow this. You can also use services such as you could create a Gravatar or a Google Profile on Google+ to represent you and save you typing in your profile information each time you access a variety of applications. You could also use Flavours.me or About.me to collate together the various guises in which you appear online.

Things to talk about:

How easy to use and transparent were these tools? Did they each identify your publications accurately? If you don’t yet have any publications, do these platforms have any use for you?

How easy will it be to maintain your own profile over time? These platforms give you the option to take responsibility for your profile yourself, rather than relying on your institution or publishers to do so. Does this work for you, or do you feel it’s not your role? What about multiple authored papers, chapters or books?

Next up: a guest post from Yvonne Nobis, Head of Science Information ServicesCentral Science Library on the new bibliometrics tools for an expert librarian’s perspective!

Extra Workshops!

There was some interest during the STEMDigital launch workshop for some more sessions on the specific topics we’ll be covering online, so to complement these posts, I’ve arranged for the following workshops. Participants of STEMDigital have priority booking!

Making the Most of LinkedIn

We’ll shortly be covering how to use profiles on networking platforms such as LinkedIn, and Meg Westbury, a librarian at the Judge Business School, has very kindly agreed to lead a session for you, focussing on how to get the most out of LinkedIn. The session is timed to coincide with the STEMDigital post on LinkedIn so you can think about your use in the session and then explore it with us here on the blog. The session is at 10.30 – 12 on Friday 14th of June, and you can book your place here. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Blogging

The last week of this module will cover setting up a blog (to use either as a blog or as a personal website). To complement this, I’ll be leading a workshop on Blogging for Beginners, to cover technical aspects of setting up a blog choosing one of the popular blogging platforms, the practical considerations around managing an individual or group blog, and look at features which make an effective academic blog, from writing style and choice of topic to publicising your posts. The workshop will be 13.30-16.00 on Wednesday 19th June and  you can book your place here.

A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter

We’re getting ahead of ourselves a little here but the second module of STEMDigital covers more interactive use of social media than module one. One of the tools we’ll be using is Twitter, and for such a simple tool, it has a lot to it! As well as the launch workshop for Module Two (details to be advertised) I’ll be running a session focussing specifically on Twitter, and we’ll be following up here online as usual with some activities and tools to explore. The workshop will be on Monday 17th June, 13.30-16.30 and you can book your place here. This workshop is for those new to twitter, so if you’ve already experimented a bit, you might prefer to follow on with us online where we’ll be looking at some of the more advanced add-ons.

Don’t worry if you can’t make any of the sessions – I’ll post materials here afterwards as usual! Hope to see you there.

If you have any other requests for workshops on social media, do let me know in the comments below!

The Bare Minimum

I hope you found the workshop thought-provoking, and that it gave you a few things to reflect on! This post addresses our starting point – that we all have a digital footprint of some kind which needs to be engaged with. Whether we want to boost our online visibility and activity or keep a low profile, monitoring and managing our web presence will take a certain amount of work. In this post, I’ll cover the basics that we should perhaps all be doing to make sure that, whatever our online profile may be, it’s suitably professional.

Review what you’ve made available about yourself online. As we started to do in the workshop, make a list of the online platforms you’ve ever signed up to: ones you’re currently using and those you’ve abandoned….

  • Deleting material. Out of date, inactive profiles don’t look so good, so you’ll need to tidy up; make some decisions about what to keep and maintain, and what to delete.  There may be a good reason to keep some platforms which you aren’t particularly active on. For example, if you can maintain a relatively up-to-date profile on platforms such as LinkedIn, with automatic updates from your more active web presences (e.g. a blog, twitter or other platform) and clear links to where you can primarily be found, then these little-used sites might be worth keeping. Likewise, abandoned blogs with entries which might still be of interest and use to people might be better kept than deleted as they will be another route to direct people to your main presence online. However, if you don’t intend to do a basic level of maintenance to keep them more or less up to date, or if they are purely personal or no longer relevant to your current professional status, then it might be worth deactivating or deleting where possible. You can also delete individual posts which might reflect poorly, irrelevantly or inaccurately on you. Of course, its not always possible to entirely get rid of online material, as it will likely have been archived somewhere, but this will help to make it less accessible.
  • Review your privacy settings on social sites. This is particularly relevant on sites such as Facebook. Facebook privacy settings change constantly, and the default setting is almost always public, assuming that you will automatically want to opt-in to sharing, rather than opt-out. This guide from Lifehacker talks you through the things you need to check.  The main things are to check are in the ‘Privacy’ and Tagging and Timeline’ menus. They include: that your privacy settings state that only ‘Friends’ (rather than ‘Friends of Friends’ or ‘Public’) can see your posts and timeline, that your profile and timeline cannot be searched by Google or other search engines, and that you must be notified of and approve any photos etc which other people have tagged with your name. Once you’re done, you can see how your profile will look to others from the outside.

Review your Google ranking, and monitor what others put online about you…

  • Make a habit of Googling yourself, to see how visible various aspects of your online profile are. Monitor also if there are any new materials about you which others have put online. You should check too if there are things about people who share your name, which might need disambiguating from your profile. To make this easier, you can set up a Google Alert, which will save your search, perform it automatically at regular intervals, and email you any results. You could also search social media search engines such as SocialMention or Technorati.

Make sure things are up-to-date and relevant…

  • If the highest and most recent ‘hits’ on Google are out of date, for example, relating to universities where you studied or worked previously, then you’ll need to request that your current university has a page for you, or that irrelevant old material is removed, by contacting those who run the website. If this isn’t possible, you’ll need to do some work yourself, to create new, more relevant and more visible content.

Make your profile visible

  • Google’s Webmaster resources are a good place to start and learn more about search engine optimisation.
  • Think about your metadata – other than your name, what terms are people likely to use when searching for someone like you? Start from the perspective of the various people who might be searching. You might find the autocomplete suggestions in the Google search box useful, or try the keywords suggested for your research area in library catalogues (Cambridge’s LibrarySearch has a useful wordcloud feature). This link might suggest further useful tools. Use this metadata when setting up a profile, creating a webpage, or when tagging blogposts and other media such as videos which you upload.
  • Interlink those aspects of your online profile that you wish to be visible. Google ranks ‘authority’ sites such as those with university URLs (e.g. .ac.uk or .edu), and the main social media platforms which generate high traffic (such as LinkedIn) most highly. You could also consider which web pages outside academia have the most authority, relevance and impact in your field, and link to those. Linking between these will help them to appear prominently in search hits.

These steps cover the essentials of monitoring and managing your online profile  – even being invisible online takes work these days! Work through these steps to make sure you’re developing your online presence from a good starting point.

How comfortable are you with being visible online? Would you prefer to stay as invisible as possible and ensure that your online persona is strictly professional? Or do you agree with this view that privacy is a modern concept which is overvalued? Once you’ve explored this further in this week’s post, do comment with your experiences below!

Next up: we’ll be looking at collating and disambiguating your online presence, on the open web but more importantly for researchers, through bibliometrics tools.