Do you blog or tweet about your research as you publish new papers? An excellent post by Prof Athene Donald on Physicsfocus earlier this week commented on how often academics have started to mention in their REF submissions the roles played by these activities in disseminating their work. Athene Donald’s thoughtful comments on the subject made me realise that perhaps I have been missing a trick: as a novice to using social media to promote my research, I had been eagerly awaiting the acceptance of my next paper in order that I could try out writing a post about it and sending a few tweets.
Then I followed the link to Prof Melissa Terras’ post describing the reaction she received to circulating even those papers of hers that had been available online for years. As I read her account of increasing the number of downloads of her work by a couple of orders of magnitude through tweeting and blogging, the penny finally dropped! I don’t need to wait until we’ve heard back from the editor of the journal to which that latest paper has been submitted, I can begin talking about my research right now.
Many of us have an increasing number of papers published in open-access journals or in repositories, as this type of publication becomes increasingly tied to funding. We also now have the opportunity to talk about the wider stories of the work and highlight the themes connecting successive publications though social media. As I start to promote my papers, I don’t yet have the following that Melissa Terras described in her article, so I’m not sure my stats will be quite as impressive but I look forward to sharing them on this blog over the coming months.